August 05, 2020
Classes begin today for BSA Foundation’s virtual Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program
WASHINGTON – July 20, 2020 – The coronavirus response has canceled many summer programs, but Software.org: the BSA Foundation has been able to expand the impact of its regular summer coding program for girls.
Starting today, Software.org begins classes in its sixth Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program. Thirty-seven girls from DC, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia will take part in a two-week course to learn the fundamentals of computer science. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s program will be held virtually, but that format has allowed the program to nearly double the number of students and to expand its range to students outside the local area.
The online classroom serves as an important reminder of the importance of software in our everyday lives and emphasizes the need to train a dynamic and diverse group of women to create the innovative tech products of the future.
Software.org’s 2019 Software Jobs Report highlights the growth and geographic diversity of software careers throughout the United States. Although this progress is promising, there is a well-documented gender gap in the tech industry that must be addressed so people of all backgrounds can learn in-demand tech skills. Fewer than 1 in 5 computer science graduates are women, and women hold only 22 percent of the 7.4 million tech jobs in the United States. Hosting the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program is just one way that Software.org is working to change these statistics and create a more inclusive workforce.
“Each year, I’m amazed by what the young women in our Summer Immersion Program are able to learn in just a few short weeks. From introductory coding to building a website, the girls gain useful tech skills that can be applied to jobs in every sector,” said Chris Hopfensperger, Executive Director of Software.org: the BSA Foundation. “Software.org is proud to continue our partnership with Girls Who Code to train the workforce of tomorrow. We’re especially grateful that we’re able to use software-powered collaboration tools to continue this program in the midst of the pandemic.”
Girls Who Code is a national nonprofit dedicated to closing the gender gap through coding programs aimed at high school girls. Research shows that while girls’ interest in STEM drops throughout their academic careers, the largest fall happens between the ages of 13 and 17. Girls Who Code works to encourage girls’ interest in STEM and computer science by offering after school and summer immersion programs across the country.
“As software jobs and the need for digital skills continue to grow in the coming years, the tech industry must work to increase diversity, close the gender gap, and ensure the economic opportunities created by software are widely available,” said Victoria Espinel, President of Software.org: the BSA Foundation and President and CEO of BSA | The Software Alliance. “I regret that our class can’t meet in person this year. But I am delighted that we can double the number of girls in our class and be able to offer this opportunity to girls in DC, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia by leveraging software and technology tools. Girls Who Code is doing important work to ensure that young women across the country can explore their interest in STEM. I look forward to welcoming these girls to our summer program, and hope some of them are inspired to pursue careers in the software industry.”
Learn more about Software.org’s Girls Who Code classroom at www.software.org/girlswhocode.