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Jessie Duan empowers women with ‘Girls Teaching Girls To Code’

Jessie Duan empowers women with ‘Girls Teaching Girls To Code’

JessieCroppedWe love smart, passionate women who aim to empower other women. That’s why we want you to meet Jessie Duan from Girls Teaching Girls To Code.

Jessie is a computer science student and mentor at the same time. She co-founded Girls Teaching Girls To Code, an organization based at Stanford University, to inspire high school girls to explore computer science. Jessie and her team lead workshops, company tours, puzzle hunts, and other events to spark girls’ interest.

We want to show girls that programming is both fun and useful – and that they should give it a shot!

Why is teaching girls how to code so important? How does it impact our society? Jessie explains it all..

Hi Jessie, the name already says it, you focus on girls only, why is that?
In the US alone only 18% of bachelor’s degree in computer science go to women.  There are a number of reasons why, particularly the stereotype of engineering being ‘uncool’ and for ‘men’. Our society rarely encourages girls to pursue math and science, instead pushing young girls towards the humanities and arts – in part because of the false beliefs by both genders that women are worse at math.

High school is the time that students start thinking about college majors and future careers. It’s a great opportunity to show girls how computer science can be applied to their interests, to break stereotypes by introducing them to female role models in college and industry, and prove to that they are indeed good at computer science.

Why is it important that more girls pursue a career in engineering and computer science?
There are a couple of reasons, let me break them down for you:

1. By 2020, there will be 1.4 million new computer science jobs in the US alone, but there are only 4500.000 computer science students. In fact, the number of computer science jobs is growing twice as fast as the national average job growth. There’s a need for trained computer scientists – and the more women who pursue engineering, the more of these jobs can be filled.

2. Diversity improves teams. There’s a lot of research showing that more diverse teams lead to higher morale, higher satisfaction, and higher group performance. In other words, more engineering teams with women leads to a better en product.

3. People tend to solve problems that they understand or regularly interact with. The current gender gap in computer science means that there’s a lot of untapped potential for innovation, particularly in areas where consumers are mostly female, such as pregnancy, fashion, furniture, etc. More innovation means more problems solved,

Diversity leads to more solutions, better solutions, and more problems solved. Having more women in computer science means more technology that helps the world – that’s the bottom line.


How does learning how to code prosper women?
First, there’s a clear monetary advantage to learning how to code. Technology salaries are high, and unemployment low – in part because there is such a high demand for software engineers. The average start salary for a software engineer in the US is twice as high compared to the salary of an average college graduate. More women earning high software salaries would go a long way towards closing the gender pay gap, in which women earn $0.78 for every dollar that men make.

The ability to code also brings a tremendous amount of power. By learning to code, students are also learning computational thinking, the ability to break a complex problem down into small parts, and solving each of those small parts. This empowers students to solve problems that they, and the rest of the world are facing.

Many women think programming is boring. Can you debunk that myth?
Well, what are you interested in?

Art? Build a tool to help excavate Greek art.
Education? Provide a quality education to millions of students around the world.
Medicine? Program a bio-printer to create human tissue and eventually organs for transplantation.
Social justice? Create a human trafficking database, so that we can better identify and help human trafficking victims.

These are just a few of many, many applications for programming. Programming isn’t boring – it’s a creative, fascinating way to solve some of society’s toughest problems.

Find out more about Girls Teaching Girls To Code from their video

Thanks Jessie, we wish you and your team all the best of luck!

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