Girls Who Code

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Eileen Flynn, Reporter
@eileen_courant

In the age of both rising feminism and technology, it is startling to see the severe lack of women in the Computer Science industry. Senior Hazel Montano has created a “Girls Who Code” club specifically to involve girls in the coding industry. “If you look at the statistics, about 50 years ago there were 37% women in the field and now that number has dropped to only 18%.” said Hazel. Looking at these statistics, it is impossible not to ask why there is such a lack of women in the Computer Science field.

Chair of the Career and Technical Education Club at NCHS, James Zambarano, traces the lack of women in the Computer Programming industry back to the separation of genders at birth. “When you have a boy or girl, for some reason there’s a color difference- the boys are wrapped in blue and the girls are wrapped in pink. That’s just what they do. I think by middle school, kids are bombarded with these norms, and that makes it difficult for both boys and girls- whether it’s boys in a non-traditional female role such as family consumer science, versus girls in a non-traditional male role such as engineering or coding.” Mr. Zambarano said. Because computer science is a traditionally male-dominated field, girls tend to be less likely to feel comfortable taking classes in Computer Science in grade school.

Teacher of the AP Computer Science Principles class at NCHS, Rachel Martinich, believes that the lack of girls taking computer science in school can be traced back to their preference of teacher. “What they found nationally, is that girls over boys have a preference to their teacher being a female over male,” Ms. Martinich said. “Girls tend to prefer having a female teacher, especially in something new to them (like computers) whereas boys do not.” Ms. Martinich said. Because computer science has been dominated by men, most Computer Science teachers are male. “Despite many male teaching figures, I hope that me being female brings more girls into our classes.” Ms. Martinich said.

Ms. Martinich believes that making girls feel comfortable in their classroom settings and encouraging them to try computer science, even if they have no experience. This will help girls to major in computer programming and computer science, which will get more women in jobs in that field. Ms. Martinich wants to stress to girls everywhere, that they can always pick up computer science. “I think that by the time many girls are in high school, they think it’s too late.” Ms. Martinich said. “However, I can assure it’s never too late.”

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