Teaching girls to code: the pursuit of bravery over perfection [TED Talk Video]
The number of open computing jobs in the US is far outpacing the number of computer science students graduating nationwide.
Furthermore, only 1 in 4 schools teach computer programming. TED Talk presenter, Reshma Saujani of Girls Who Code, goes further and deals with the lack of gender parity between boys and girls. According to her, this is more due to a bravery deficit that to a lack of talent: “[…] at the fifth grade level, girls routinely outperform boys in every subject, including math and science, so it’s not a question of ability. The difference is in how boys and girls approach a challenge. And it doesn’t just end in fifth grade. An HP report found that men will apply for a job if they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women will apply only if they meet 100% of the qualifications. This study is usually invoked as evidence that women need a little more confidence. But I think it’s evidence that women have been socialized to aspire to perfection, and they’re overly cautious.”
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there will be more than 1.4 million computer-related job openings by 2020. At current rates, only 30% of those positions will be fulfilled by U.S. computing bachelor’s grads.
This means that to reach gender parity by 2020, 4.6 million girls will need to receive some forms of related education, via traditional training (like TEALS), nonprofit organizations like Girls Who Code, or leveraging online education platforms like Coursera and Codecademy.