words Alexa Wang
Our world is built around computers. We use them for everything and everything we do, from our day job to going to the supermarket, will involve some level of computer coding.
Inspiring women to take up coding begins when they’re young. That’s why coding became a major focus as part of the UK’s computing curriculum in 2014. From Year 1 through to GCSE and beyond, pupils have been taught programming skills.
But there is still an imbalance between men and women in this field. So, how do we inspire the future generation of women coders? How do we get girls to get stuck into coding?
It’s not just coding where we’re seeing an imbalance. Are you obsessed with science? Maybe you’re a maths whizz?
If you’re a woman and you’re into STEM subjects, it’s likely you’re still in the minority. Even in 2023, when we’re living in a more scientifically and technologically advanced world than ever before. Even when things appear to be – on the face of it – becoming more even between the sexes in these typically male-dominated subjects, we’re seeing way less than a 50/50 split.
Getting women into STEM is often considered an uphill battle. But with coding, there’s a real opportunity to make things balance out. After all, computers are part of our world and this will only continue in the future. So, we’re going to need the most skilled computer brains to help.
If you’re trying to get your child into coding, start with the fact that it can be fun. It gives kids the chance to be creative and see their ideas become actual, moving objects or designs.
Also, it can be rewarding. This is especially the case if your child works as part of a team to make something special.
As with any skill, the earlier you introduce this, the easier it will be. Doing a bit of coding regularly can build up their skillset and give them the chance to work on increasingly complex projects as time goes on. Once they’ve got the basics down, it’s possible to adapt more advanced tech to work for them.
Give them to the tools
By providing the girls you teach or the girls in your life with the right kit, they’ll be able to have a tinker, finding real-world solutions using something as simple as a single-board computer and some sensors. There are plenty of options available, such as Arduino, and it’s possible to adapt this to suit a range of designs and coding concepts.
Give them examples of role models of multiple genders so that they can see that they too could be coders one day. Tell them the success stories, such as that of Ada Lovelace, and explain how these brilliant minds became famous.