Girls Who Code, the American national non-profit working to close the gender gap in technology, on Wednesday released a series of videos satirizing stereotypes about why women are underrepresented in computer science.
The videos present absurd theories for why girls “can’t” code, pointing to ridiculous reasons such as “they have boobs,” “they menstruate,” and “they’re beautiful.” With their funny and provocative tone, the videos are designed to spark conversation about unconscious bias and reclaim stereotypes related to gender and appearance that have been used to exclude women from traditionally male-dominated fields like technology.
The videos were produced in partnership with McCann NY and are available at http://www.GirlsDoCode.com and below:
- Compilation: https://youtu.be/vXeF6Uot8pk
- Menses: https://youtu.be/MwiPGQfCvyo
- Boobs: https://youtu.be/yAVQpJNybys
- Beauty: https://youtu.be/rZ8qzx2NAbg
By the time they reach college, women make up fewer than 1 in 5 computer science graduates. The gender gap in technology starts in adolescence, when teenage girls rank computing and engineering as some of the least interesting professions. Several studies cite negative stereotypes and media portrayals of coders as nerdy and male as top reasons why young women lose interest.
Reshma Saujani, Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, said: “There are already a ton of inspirational videos about why girls should code. We wanted to try something different and use humor and satire to question the stereotypes that tell our girls that coding is not for them. Our hope is these videos will spark a much-needed conversation about the messages we send our young women and what we can do to create a more inclusive, well-rounded image of a programmer.”
(Reshman Saujani has served as the Deputy Advocate for Special Initiatives at the New York City Office of the Public Advocate and Executive Director of The Fund for Public Advocacy. In 2010, Reshma became the first South Asian woman to run for Congress in New York’s 14th Congressional District after resigning her General Counsel position at an investment firm to focus full-time on public service and community building. She is currently running for New York City Public Advocate in the 2013 election.
As the daughter of refugees who fled the violence of Idi Amin’s Uganda for the freedom of the United States, she has a personal interest in ensuring a political voice and economic opportunity for all Americans. Advocating for a new model of female leadership and focused on risk-taking, Reshma is the author of a new book entitled Women Who Don’t Wait in Line, to be released in 2013.)
Priti Kapur, McCann NY’s Executive Creative Director, said: “When the girls themselves verbalize the biases it becomes abundantly clear just how ridiculous it is. The notion that being a woman is somehow a disadvantage for coding is so deeply ingrained in society that you almost need to hear it out loud to realize how crazy it is.” Susan Young, Group Creative Director on the campaign, added: “There’s also the notion that girls can’t appreciate this kind of humor – also a ridiculous stereotype.”
Margot Richaud, a Girls Who Code alumna, said: “These videos may seem absurd, but sadly they’re not so off the mark. As a high school senior, I’ve had classmates and teachers tell me that coding is not for me, or that I’d be better off focusing on design and making something look ‘pretty’. These comments, plus the stereotypes that we see everyday of a coder as a nerdy guy in a hoodie, keep a lot of my friends from considering computer science as a career path. We need to change that and stop telling girls that coding is not for us. There is never an excuse for a girl to not code.”
In addition to these satirical videos, Girls Who Code has also released a YouTube series, “My Code,” about learning how to code from the perspective of four Girls Who Code alumnae. The weekly series airs every Thursday on YouTube at www.YouTube.com/GirlsWhoCode.
Through its Summer Immersion Program and Girls Who Code Clubs, the organization is leading the movement to inspire, educate, and equip young women with the computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities. By the end of the year, Girls Who Code will have reached 40,000 girls in every state. – PRNewswire