Reshma Saujani, CEO of Girls Who Code, joined IBM CEO Ginni Rometty on stage at IBM InterConnect this week to discuss how IBM has supported the company’s growth, which in turn has helped young girls break barriers in the technology industry.
As a politician, Reshma visited hundreds of schools. The lack of girls in IT classes made her question where women sit in the tech industry. Through research, she found out that today, less than 18 percent of women major in IT.
Moving in the right direction
Five years after the Girls Who Code started in 2012, IBM has sponsored summer camps, helping 40,000 girls from every US state learn to code. All the girls who attended these summer camps intend to major or minor in a computer tech course.
Considering only 7,000 graduated in computer science in 2016, it is clear the numbers are moving in the right direction.
The Girls Who Code camps teach girls how to use Watson API and Bluemix. For example, one girl created an app to help children with autism connect with their friends.
The camps are helping build a generation of change makers to help people with autism, those who are battling cyberbullying and others.
Three summer camp attendees, Karen, Michelle and Madison were welcomed to the stage during Rometty’s keynote. They described how they used Bluemix workshop and Watson for an interactive chatbot, specifically using the Tone Analyzer. They later used the platform for their end-of-summer project because it was so interesting and exciting.
Supporting Girls Who Code
Continued support from IBM means that girls across the US can learn about the applications and the processes of coding. The girls on stage said being mentored by female IBMers was incredibly inspiring. They added that the best experience was the chance to spend time, collaborate and work in a real tech company that supports women in the tech field.
Saujani and Rometty agreed that it is so possible to inspire young girls by showing them what coding is and how they can use it to benefit themselves and those around them. Young women can use tech to solve the things they’re passionate about rather than having to wait for someone else to do it.
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