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Bridging the Gender Gap in Computer Science With Coding

Studies have shown that boys outnumber girls when it comes to enthusiasm and participation in STEM-geared concentrations in grade K-12. A Recent GeekWire article suggests that coding workshops might be one solution to increase the number of women in the computer science fields.

“Regardless of when women start coding, certain grade levels signify a drop­-off for women’s success and participation in STEM,” according to Lindsey Boisvin of GeekWire.

“Young men and women in K­12 succeed at similar rates in science and mathematic courses, with the highest amount of disparity between different ethnic and income groups.”

One of the most staggering statistics posed in the report was the fact that out of 30,000 students who took the AP exam for computer science in 2013, only 5,500 of them were females.

Boisvin also poses the fact that young females from grade school already have a bad idea of what people in computer science fields are like, due to characters they see on television.

“By second grade, girls already hold stereotypes relating boys to math. As young girls age, other stereotypes are brought on by television shows and late-night Netflix sessions,” according to the article.

“Computer scientists and engineers on television, according to a 2015 study, are often portrayed as socially awkward and obsessed with technology.

Characters are overwhelmingly male, and either white or Asian. They’re stereotypically given glasses and pale skin. These characters may give off the idea that computer scientists and engineers are ‘dissociated from communal goals such as helping society and working with others,’ according to the study.”

One of the organizations involved in helping bridge the gap of females and technology is Geek Girls Carrots. The project is based in Seattle according to the article and it encourages participation and collaboration with a wide array of coding projects.

The workshops might have been filled with many “youthful 20-something-year-olds,” however, the statistics given above show that a push is also necessary in the early development for girls in grades K-12. If the Geeks Girls Carrots idea is applied during a more influential time in a students learning the gap between female participation in STEM learning as a whole could close.

Read the full story and comment below.

Article by Navindra Persaud, Education World Contributor

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