It’s no secret that New York City and the nation are banking on a healthy culture of innovation and entrepreneurship to drive and sustain our economic future. It is these two areas that offer the greatest cause for hope when considering our nation’s low educational ranking compared to other countries.
|Est. Annual Test Score Gains 1995-2009|
Most concur that the shortcomings in U.S. education reside at the K-12 level. And that girls in particular are way overshadowed by boys when it comes to gaining proficiency in computer science – a necessary ingredient for fueling this culture of innovation. A 2011 U.S. Department of Commerce study found that only 14% of engineers are female.
|Girls Who Code Gala at NYSE|
Big business also recognizes the upside in helping bridge the tremendous gender gap in technology. In June, Twitter, General Electric, Google and eBay announced their support for a new New York-based organization called Girls Who Code that teaches high school girls how to code.
This week, I attended the gala celebrating the first graduating class of Girls Who Code, held on the vaunted floor of the New York Stock Exchange. I also chatted with Reshma Saujani, the organization’s founder, and Kristen Titus, its executive director. (Please forgive my cinematographic shortcomings.)
Separately I spent time with two of 20 girls who made it through the inaugural eight-week, 9-to-5 program held in August.
|On the floor (literally) of the NYSE|
When considering the numbers, it’s not hard to recognize the value propositon here:
“By 2018, there will be 1.4 million computer science-related job openings, yet U.S. universities are expected to produce enough computer science graduates to fill just 29% of these jobs. And while 57% of bachelor’s degrees are obtained by women, less than 14% of computer science degrees are awarded to women.”
While we’re talking about the gender disparity in technology, I’d be remiss not to mention Rachel Sklar‘s efforts to Change the Ratio of women in the field or the recent New York Tech Meetup “Women’s Demo Night,” co-sponsored by Change the Ratio.