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Encouraging more girls to take Computer Science in schools

Shashi
International educator, now in a e-learning/database admin role. Taught Computer Science/IT for 14 years. Managed a wide range of ed-databases for 11 years. Hungry for more knowledge around these!
・2 min read

Hello everyone - In my 14 years of teaching Computer Science, the total # of girls who were in my classes was about 10-15. My class sizes weren't too large (typically about 10-15) since they were electives. So that was like 1-2 girls per academic year. Things are slightly better now since they are categorized as a Science so kids can choose CS instead of, say, Physics or Chem.

As a discussion point I wanted to get some insight from female developers (men are welcome to chime in too!) on this site as to what their journeys have been like. What advice or suggestions would you give to academic institutions, K-12 educational systems on how to encourage, involve, more women into computing? What are some insights you can provide wrt girls graduating with a strong foundation in CS (with coding proficiency in 1-2 languages) and their potential in the job markets, entrepreneurship possibilities, startups etc? What should we as academic centers be doing more of/less of?

In schools, we are always looking for ways to engage more girls in the CS conversation and I have found that despite initiatives like Code.Org and Hour of code etc, the # of girls graduating high school (and I only have International/IB schools as a reference point) with a CS major are not yet at par with those of boys. This has led some schools to stop offering CS since there are still a lot of misconceptions connected to it wrt mastery of math,advanced skill sets etc. I realize some of it is perhaps true but given that CS courses typically start from scratch, everyone is a beginner in many ways.

Hopefully all this made sense? I look forward to some good conversations on this topic.

--Shashi

PS: Just as a way to celebrate them here, I have found in my teaching experience that girls have generally been the more organized developers with excellent reflection, commenting skills with coding. :)

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