In the News
Kimberly Bryant: ‘We want to introduce 1m girls to coding by 2040’ (video)
There is a serious divide in the booming tech economy and girls – especially girls of colour – are being left behind, said Kimberly Bryant, founder of Black Girls Code. Bryant wants to introduce 1m girls to coding by 2040.
Bryant pointed out that in 2011 when she started Black Girls Code the number of women studying computer science at US universities stood at 35pc.
“That has since plummeted to 18pc. For women of colour, African-Americans account for only 3pc and for Latino women that is less than 1pc.”
Bryant told this morning’s Inspirefest in Dublin that she believes girls should be encouraged to learn code early at six or seven years of age. “We need to have a goal of helping to understand the power of being builders and creators of technology, not just consumers of technology.
“Web design, robotics, mobile app development, game design – we are determined to make sure they find a place for themselves in technology as creators and not just consumers.”
Bryant said that at the end of 2013 only 40pc of the world’s population had basic internet access. “Women are coming online very slowly compared to their male peers.
“Besides this lack of access to technology, we also know that too few women are leaders, innovators and decision-makers in an increasingly technology-oriented world.”
While the tech world has awoken to its obvious failings in terms of diversity and the reality that not enough women hold senior leadership positions in tech companies, Bryant said that less than 2pc of women of colour hold leadership positions in the tech industry.
She said the next wave of technologies will require imagination, ingenuity and experience.
‘We will equip these girls with the skills to hack human rights’
“By limiting women in technology we are limiting ourselves to only half of the world’s solutions.
“A global technology revolution is taking place and if women and girls aren’t part of it, the future for women’s rights is bleak.
“We are hoping to teach our girls to be builders and not just consumers. We need to teach our girls to solve problems, hack the issues that are important to them and their world.
“We need to teach our girls to exhibit self-confidence and self-ethicacy. The message is not about our ability as technologists, the idea that we are not capable or equipped to build technology, which is not true. We need to teach our girls to become leaders and animators of tomorrow.”
Bryant showcased the Ohana app, created by a team of students at Black Girls Code. Ohana is an app that alerts family members, friends and authorities if a woman feels unsafe and prevents girls from being abducted; it was a finalist project at the Global Hackathon for Women’s Rights.
“We believe that as a human family, we have an obligation to protect the rights of women and girls everywhere and create tools for empowerment.
“We will enable opportunities for connection and empowerment and imagination and create a clear path for these women who are marginalised and not paid attention to.
“We will equip them with the skills to hack human rights,” Bryant concluded.
“We must be sure that girls have a seat at the table. These are the leaders for technology, without a doubt. If we empower them and uplift them then we will create solutions that will create a better world for us all.”
Why Girls, Safe Spaces and Coding Can Close the Gender Gap in Technology — and Drive Equality Currently, the technology industry does not reflect the demographics of the population. The issues with this representation relate to both the pipeline of individuals joining and preparing to join the technology industry and the retention of individuals once they begin a technology career. We must address both of these issues to have any sustained impact on the overall technology workforce.
WOMEN TWEET TO MAP SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN PAKISTAN Grassroots organization Blue Veins is using technology and social media to mobilize voters, end sexual harassment, and fight for gender equality in Pakistan.
Enter Andy Gonzales and Sophie Houser, two New York City high school students who coded the feminist game Tampon Run.
MARTINE ROTHBLATT DELIVERED INSPIRATIONAL SPEECH ABOUT WOMEN IN TECH AT EMERGE AMERICAS What’s most appealing about Rothblatt’s brand is that she doesn’t simply question authority; she defies it. She encourages women to form their own opinions and not be afraid to do so outside of what’s socially accepted. She doesn’t care what you think of her. Never mind the accomplishments and the accolades, Martine Rothblatt is an inspiration because she isn’t afraid to be who she is, and you can count on her to encourage others to do the same.
Gayatri Buragohain The story of FAT’s beginning. For someone who had no background on feminism and women’s rights, working with her previous organization introduced Gayatri to several never heard before concepts and theories. She realized that there are organizations and people working towards achieving women’s rights and human rights. That this wasn’t something you get on a platter but something that a patriarchal society makes you fight for. This realization was enough for her to go beyond her everyday work of fixing and repairing technology to sneak in and hear conversations, discussions and debates around feminism.
Shannon Turner is building an army of women who code Why is it so important that women are well represented in tech and that they have the skills you’re helping them get? Right now, women’s voices aren’t being heard. For all of the talk of the talent gap, we’re still not listening to half of the population. I want to unlock that other half, because when we change the ratio in tech, it’s not just about women finding challenging, exciting work. It’s about women helping to build the future. It’s about women having a say in what the world of tomorrow looks like.
In February 2015 more than 70 girls in five international cities participated in the IGNITE International Girls Hackathon, a project of Global Fund for Women. During the Hackathon, girl coders worked in teams to create a new website or application that could increase girls’ access to safe spaces in their communities (both online and physical).
20,000 Signatures to close the Gender Tech Gap delivered to UN – Global Fund for Women broke through their goal of 20,000 signatures just in time to deliver their IGNITE petition! They presented 20,573 signatures to end the global gender technology gap at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City on Friday. Global Fund for Women President and CEO Musimbi Kanyoro delivered the petition to two powerful UN decision makers: Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Under-Secretary-General and the Executive Director of UN Women, and Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Chief of Strategic Planning and Membership for the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) – the UN agency dedicated to information and communication technologies (ICTs).
After Saudi feud, Sweden debates a ‘feminist’ global role Reuters ... Minister Margot Wallstrom steadfastly pursues human rights and feminism. … “Much of what Sweden exports of high technology requires the
Google Exec gets called out for interrupting woman while talking about diversity On Monday, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt and acclaimed Steve Jobs biographer Walter Isaacson were wrapping up a SXSW Interactive panel that had focused on diversity, when an audience member called out the two men for repeatedly interrupting their fellow panelist, the United States’ Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith. Even more awkward? The audience member who posed the question was apparently Judith Williams, who heads up Google’s unconscious bias program.