May 23, 2015 08:46 UTC

Science & Technology

Growing Girls Who Code

Read, listen and learn English with this story. Double-click on any word to find the definition in the Merriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary.

Multimedia

Play or download an MP3 of this story
From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report in Special English.

American colleges and universities awarded about one million seven hundred thousand bachelor’s degrees in the school year ending in twenty ten. Fifty-seven percent of the recipients were female. Yet only eighteen percent of the women earned degrees in computer and information sciences. 

Reshma Saujani would like to change that. She launched an organization called “Girls Who Code” in two thousand eleven. Her goal is to get more girls interested in science and technology.
Reshma SaujaniReshma Saujani
x
Reshma Saujani
Reshma Saujani

"It's predicted that we’ll have about one point four million jobs that are open in the next twenty years in the science and technology related fields. But, only twenty-nine percent of Americans today have the skills to actually fill those jobs. And many of those Americans are men. And less than twenty percent of women are actually going into the technology and science related professions. And so we have an enormous gap.”

And she says the underrepresentation of women in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, also known as STEM, is caused by a bigger societal issue.

“Girls and boys perform about the same in math and science. So there’s not an aptitude issue.”

Reshma Saujani says we live in a society that sends messages that girls should avoid these fields of study.

“I can still go to Forever 21 and buy a t-shirt that says ‘allergic to algebra.’ We still have that Barbie that would say that she hated math. And we still have this kind of cultural stereotype that a computer scientist or a programmer is kind of like a dorky, young white guy.”

“Girls Who Code” has partnered with educators, engineers and business people. Twenty girls took part in the group’s first eight-week program last summer in New York City. They learned how to build websites and mobile apps, and create business plans.

“We took girls on field trips to the NYPD, to Facebook, to Twitter. And we showed them how technology is a part of every, every industry. Whether it’s fashion, whether it’s medicine. And that you can really use technology to really change the world.”

Ms. Saujani says companies have been very supportive of the group.

“The private sector really understands that they have an enormous pipeline problem. We have a huge shortage of engineers. And they invest in “Girls Who Code” to really grow that pipeline.”

Google was the first business to invest in the group. Reshma Saujani says if not for Google, “Girls Who Code” would not exist. Twitter, General Electric, eBay and others have also provided support.

Ms. Saujani says the program has been extremely successful. She says all the girls who took part in its first group plan to continue their STEM training. And, she says, “Girls Who Code” hopes to train many more.

“If our goal at “Girls Who Code” is to really close the STEM gap, we realize that we have to teach two million girls how to code in the next twenty years.”
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Lallous from: xIMUDgQwSYHdGSDc
11/14/2012 3:25 PM
Begun, the great internet eudaicton has.


by: Yang Sheng from: Shenzhen, China
11/05/2012 1:22 AM
I'm a code monkey, more girls are welcome. ^_^


by: Yang from: Canada
11/04/2012 9:26 PM
Wow,that would be a big challenge for most girls,for girls are always shaped as good at literature rather than at engineering.I believe the first step should make girls believe that they can the best as boys do.as


by: Shige from: Japan
11/01/2012 5:13 AM
The tendency that the amount of women who work in STEM degrees is same in Japan. Because almost women avoid these fields like STEM yet. But, the effect of "Girls Who Code" against society will become bigger in the future. I think so.


by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
10/29/2012 8:53 AM
I don't know much about computer engneering. What kinds of jobs do computer engneers conduct? Computer programings to creat new systems, for example, on business field sound like interesting jobs. Yet simply coding jobs seem monotonous and causing strains on eye and neck muscle with low payment. I hope girls would have the same chance to get creative jobs on STEM as dorky, young white guys.

Learn with The News

  • Video Learning at the Laundromat

    College students teach mathematics and English to poor, immigrant children at a coin laundry near Washington, DC. At the same time, the students are helping the owner of the business become more profitable. The tutoring is part of the business plan they have created. | As It Is More

  • Audio Islamic State Militants Capture Two Major Cities

    The Islamic State seized control of the Syrian city of Palmyra on Thursday. The fall of Palmyra reportedly left the militants in control of half of Syria. Last Sunday, the militants took control of Ramadi, the capital of Iraq’s Anbar Province.| In The News More

  • Fiery Cross Reef, Spratly Islands

    Audio China Warns US Spy Plane in South China Sea

    China's navy is reported to have issued eight warning messages to a U.S. military spy plane over several man-made islands. Boats with Rohingya migrants accepted in Indonesian waters. U.S. and Cuba continue talks toward diplomatic ties. More

  • Audio Google Self-Driving Car Heading to Public Streets

    This summer, the latest version of Google's self-driving car will make its first appearance on public roads. The two-seat vehicle does not need a gas pedal or steering wheel. The prototype can drive, brake and recognize road dangers without human involvement. More

  • Audio In the US Senate, Heated Debate Over Catfish

    Lawmakers in the U.S. Senate are debating the Trans-Pacific Partnership. But, the catfish, a popular farmed fish in some southern states, has caused a large share of the argument. Republican Senator John McCain criticized a measure calling for increased U.S. government inspections of Asian catfish. More

Featured Stories

  • Discover Debate

    Audio Successful Debate for New Learners and Large Classes

    Many students of English engage in debate as part of their training. In Part Two of our Successful Debate series, we learn the kinds of debate topics that work well for English learners. An expert shares tips for organizing a debate in a large class and for answering arguments. More

  • Nina Marranca looks at her phone, June 25, 2013.

    Audio Deaf-Blind Woman First to Use Braille Phone

    New technology allows deaf and blind people to use the telephone. The tests are underway in Australia and the U.S. It could help end isolation that people who cannot see or hear say they feel. Learn about this exciting new technology as well as words like "Braille" and "parallel testing." More

  • Video Resounding Earth: Creating Music from Metal

    "The title “Resounding Earth” on the one hand, we are talking about resounding earth. The earth is full of metals that all of mankind has turned into instruments. We are going to play them from all around the world together on one stage." More

  • Audio Common French Words in American English

    English is loaded with French words. Even if they mean something bad they sound so good. So read on to learn how to say them properly. Pictured here, French Actress Michele Morgan poses in a bathing suit at the 1st Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France in 1946. More

  • Audio Everyday Grammar: Problems with Pronouns and Gender

    The English language is changing to meet the needs of online communities and a quickly changing society. Do we need new pronouns to talk about a person whose gender is unknown? It’s common now to hear that “Everyone has their own opinion” on this issue. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner blog
Confessions of an English Learner blog

 

 

 

Tell us About Our Programs