Tell us your story.
My daughter was studying computer science in college. She was one of two women in a class of 25. Even in entry-level CS classes, she felt that the men in the class had a much stronger knowledge of CS than she did. By her sophomore year, she was convinced she “didn’t fit in” and that she wasn’t cut out for CS. She called home discouraged. It was highly uncharacteristic for her, as she has always been an academically confident student. At the same time, international newspaper articles across the country touted the importance of a CS education if you wanted job opportunities when you graduated. The White House issued a report that by 2020 there would be 1 million unfilled SC related jobs in the USA. I was interested in this supply / demand imbalance, and I was looking for a new topic for a documentary film. Together with Producer Staci Hartman, we began to investigate the gender gap and digital divide in computer science engineering.
What advice to you have to share with other women and young girls?
Coding can be collaborative and creative! Programming is not reserved for nerdy, 20-something white men, and coding does not have to be done in a basement or alone. You don't have to be male, or nerdy, or good at math. You don't have to wear glasses. Anyone can learn to code who puts their mind to it. There is a huge need for software engineers, so jump in and get involved.
Pass it on!
Okay, you asked, so hear it goes: I am inspired by Megan Smith, our very first female Chief Technology Officer of the United States of America. I am inspired by Danielle Feinberg at Pixar because she has defied the odds and has risen to the top of the creative world through her persistent love for coding and art. I am inspired by Julie Ann Horvath because she is the founder of Passion Projects and she was brave enough to stand up to sexism in startup culture in order to make tech a more welcoming environment for all women. I am inspired by Aliya Rahman, because she is a coder and a pilot and a DJ and because there is absolutely nothing she cannot do. All these women should be on bill boards across the USA as role models for our young, aspiring daughters and for girls the world over.
I would like to inspire young women who want to get involved in the tech world. I want to inspire men to change startup culture. I want to inspire CEOs and COOs to hire more women. I want to inspire the USA educational system to include coding into the curriculum. And finally, I would like to inspire Hollywood to help change the stereotype of a coder.