Tweet Industry

Closing the Gender Gap, One Girl at a Time

Software.org’s first Girls Who Code class graduated this week, and we are honored to have sponsored such a dedicated group of aspiring coders. Rather than spend the summer at the beach, these 17 young women spent the past seven weeks mastering sophisticated languages like HTML, CSS, and Python to build websites, program apps, and make robots dance. They also got out of the classroom to meet with female leaders in tech and policymakers on Capitol Hill. There are many fun ways to spend the summer before senior year, but few could be more fulfilling.

Or more important to the software industry. That’s because, by 2020, there will be 1.4 million computing job openings, but just 400,000 computer science graduates with the skills for those jobs. And women are on track to make up just 3 percent of that workforce. Girls Who Code, with the help of sponsors like Software.org, aims to change that and fill the talent shortfall by supporting girls’ interests in STEM.

Of course, we are not alone in this effort. We want to thank all the companies and speakers who made this summer program possible, including:

  • Phyllis Schneck for visiting the classroom with a panel of her colleagues from Promontory Financial Group to discuss cybersecurity and their roles in creating cyber solutions;
  • IBM’s most prolific female inventor, Lisa Seacat DeLuca, for speaking to the girls and challenging them to think outside the box;
  • Microsoft for hosting a group of female tech leaders who armed the class with career advice on mentorship day;
  • This year’s graduation keynote speaker, Toya Gatewood, whose path to becoming the first black female Salesforce MVP ended the program on an inspirational note; and,
  • Finally, our teachers, who taught and encouraged the girls every day, and helped make the program a success.

The Girls Who Code summer program is one of our favorite times of the year. Software.org dedicates significant resources to educating others about the need for more women in tech, but through Girls Who Code we play a direct role in making this change a reality. We are so proud of our graduating class and can’t wait to see where their dedication and talent take them next. As one student put it simply: “Coding is the future. I want to learn how to code so I can make a difference in the future.”

Congratulations to the Girls Who Code Class of 2017!

Girls Who Code Class of 2017

Chris Hopfensperger

Author:

As the founding executive director of Software.org, Chris Hopfensperger will lead the foundation’s efforts to help policymakers and the general public better understand the impact that software has on our lives, our economy, and our society. He also will translate the foundation’s philanthropic and forward-looking agenda into efforts to address key issues facing the software industry.

Previously, Hopfensperger was a Senior Director, Global Policy at BSA | The Software Alliance. In that role he worked with BSA members to develop and advance the organization’s positions on technology law and regulation across markets. Hopfensperger conceived and helped produce a series of groundbreaking policy papers including the BSA Global Cloud Computing Scorecard, a tool for helping policymakers craft the right legal and regulatory environment for adopting the emerging technology. He advised members in such critical policy areas as cybersecurity, privacy, and encryption.

Hopfensperger has worked with industry representatives and government officials in numerous markets, and he has spoken on the intersection of policy and technology in several key capitals including Bangkok, Brussels, Beijing, Delhi, Seoul, and Tokyo.

Prior to joining BSA, Hopfensperger served as a technology and trade policy associate in the DC office of a large global law firm. While there, he advised companies and industry associations on pursuing legislation and representing their issues before Congress and the federal agencies and in the courts. Previously, Hopfensperger worked for more than a decade as a newspaper writer and editor, including at The Washington Post, The Sacramento Bee, and the St. Petersburg Times. Hopfensperger holds a law degree from the University of Michigan and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Nebraska.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *