It has been a well established fact for years that there simply aren’t as many women engineers as men. Computer science has one of the lowest ratios with anywhere between 5 and 20 percent female, depending upon the source. But there have been a few signs recently that this trend might one day come to an end.
The first step to produce more women engineers is for more women to try it, especially while young. With programming becoming more accessible and less nerdy, more college students are taking intro CS classes. Recently UC Berkeley’s intro class has more women than men for the first time ever (full article).
At Breakout Mentors we hear from many late elementary and middle school kids that want to code. We have been at it for over two years now and have talked to hundreds of parents, but mostly it has been boys interested. Somewhere around 10 to 20 percent girls, right around the nationally reported average.
In the last few months, we have heard from many more girls excited about learning to program. Approximately 40% have been girls since December. This is a really exciting jump and if it continues, will surely have an effect down the line when these girls grow up.
The best hypothesis we have for the increased interest from girls is the successful Hour of Code. There was a huge push in December for schools across the country to spend one hour coding. Millions of kids gave it a shot and saw how fun it can be!
Many of these young girls request a woman programming mentor – someone that the girls can look up to as a role model. It is very powerful for these girls to see young women that are proud to be interested in the subject. We currently have five women programming mentors and do our best to grant these requests. If you are interested, please contact us today.