Girls can code Program, a new initiative launched April this year, is teaching young women the skills needed to pave a successful career in coding. As a market once dominated by geeky guys, this programme is giving women the opportunity to break into the technological world. Statistics in the US suggest that less than 25% of STEM jobs (STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and maths) are filled by women.
However, Girls can code isn’t a scheme taking place in your local American high school. It’s happening within the two largest public schools for girls in Kabul, Afghanistan. In a country where 85% of women are illiterate, it is a big ask for many women to enter the workforce, let alone dream of entering the tech workforce.
Girls can code: What’s happening now
Set up by non-profit organization “The Womanity Foundation”, Girls can code is an intense “intro-to-coding” programme taking place 2 hours a day, 5 days a week, accumulating to 300 hours in total. And this takes place in addition to the girls’ normal school curriculum by the way!
During this pilot scheme, it is hoped that 40 girls will cross the course’s finishing line and have a bachelor level understanding of how to code. The scheme also connects the students with people who work in the coding industry, giving the girls an opportunity to network and seek intern opportunities, hopefully leading onto successful employment.
Girls can code: The future
If the pilot scheme is deemed successful, then it will be rolled out to other, more rural areas of Afghanistan and even more further afield to India and Israel! Trying to implement this scheme in more rural areas would be crucial in giving women in these areas the opportunity to gain independence.
In Kabul, it is currently a possibility for women to get a good job which can include being a teacher or a doctor. Unfortunately, in more rural areas of Afghanistan, poverty and societal pressures mean that women are forced to stay at home to care for the family – missing out on both an education and a career.
What Girls can Code has the potential to do, is highlight that women can be educated yet still responsible for the home. The wonderful thing about coding, is that besides there being so many job opportunities in this market meaning that work can be easily sought, coding is a job that can be done remotely at home. This could be particularly useful in societies where a woman’s role is still predominately viewed of as being within the home. It would give women the opportunity to still fulfill household responsibilities but also gain their own independence and earning potential.
“I can work safely from home, earn money and support my family.” – Girls can code student
A few more words on “The Womanity Foundation”
“The Womanity Foundation” is a non-profit organization based on the premise that girls should have the same educational opportunities as men which would enable them to participate on “equal social, political and economical levels”. Founded in 2005 by Yann Borgstedt, “The Womanity Foundation” achieves this goal by taking the time to get know the communities and cultures they are working with so they can implement educational programmes that will be welcomed within the local areas.
“The Womanity Foundation” is just one of many foundations working towards giving girls an education. For other success stories about women’s education, take a look at this Malala fund article.
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