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posted: 6/22/2014 6:11 AM

5 Things To Know about getting girls into coding

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  • In this photo taken Wednesday, June 18, 2014, Annie Ly, 16, works on completing an exercise during a Girls Who Code class at Adobe Systems in San Jose, Calif. Girls Who Code, a national nonprofit organization that aims to inspire, educate and equip young women for futures in the computing-related fields, kicked off its summer program in partnership with the world's leading tech companies.

      In this photo taken Wednesday, June 18, 2014, Annie Ly, 16, works on completing an exercise during a Girls Who Code class at Adobe Systems in San Jose, Calif. Girls Who Code, a national nonprofit organization that aims to inspire, educate and equip young women for futures in the computing-related fields, kicked off its summer program in partnership with the world's leading tech companies.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

Here are five things to know about a new initiative Google is launching this week called "Made with Code."

What is "Made With Code?"

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The Google-led initiative is an effort to get more girls involved in computer programming. A website launching Thursday features female role-model techies who write software to design cool fabrics or choreograph dances. There are simple, fun coding lessons aimed at girls and a directory of coding programs for girls. The search giant is also offering $50 million in grants to support girls coding.

A "Made With Code" kickoff event is scheduled for Thursday in New York with 150 girls, where indie rockers Icona Pop will perform and coders will demonstrate how they make everything from animated movies to designer fabrics with software.

Why is Google involved?

"Coding is a new literacy, and it gives people the potential to create, innovate and quite literally change the world. We've got to show all girls that computer science is an important part of their future and that it's a foundation to pursue their passions, no matter what field they want to enter. Made with Code is a great step toward doing that." -- Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube and early Google employee.

Do girls code now?

Less than one percent of high school girls think of computer science as part of their future, even though it's one of the fastest-growing fields in the U.S. today with a projected 4.2 million jobs by 2020, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Female participation in computer sciences has dropped to 18 percent, down from 37 percent in the 1980s. Just 20 percent of the 30,000 students who took the Advanced Placement computer science test last year were girls, according to a College Board analysis, which showed no girls at all took the test in Mississippi, Montana or Wyoming.

Do women work in tech?

Tech firms are overwhelmingly male -- Yahoo on Tuesday released a report showing 62 percent of its global employees are men. At Google, about 70 percent of the roughly 44,000 people it employs throughout the world are men. That's typical; about 30 percent of computer scientists in the U.S. are women. Only 7 percent of U.S. venture capital deals go to women founders and CEOs.

Who else is involved?

Google has a number of partners, including the nonprofit Girls Who Code, which holds summer institutes to teach girls to write computer programs, and The Clinton Foundation, whose No Ceilings: The Full Participation Project is an effort to accelerate full participation for women and girls in all aspects of society. Google is piloting a project with DonorsChoose.org to reward teachers who support girls who take computer science courses with online coding schools Codecademy or Khan Academy. Google is also working with The Science and Entertainment Exchange to get more characters and stories about women in computer science into the mainstream media.

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