Technology has the power to shape our world in deep and meaningful ways. And those who develop technological solutions have the power to turn their wildest imaginings into real world experiences. Ideally, the new world we build with technology will be democratic, with room for everyone to contribute.
According to the National Science Board, only 26% of programmers are women. This doesn’t just create gaps in the technology industry, but in how our tech-driven world represents its inhabitants. If all technology is developed from a single perspective, how can it represent and serve the larger population, diverse and eclectic as it is?
Understanding how young girls can see themselves as part of the tech world is key. According to research by Google, the top factors leading girls to a career in computer science are academic exposure, social encouragement, self-perception and their idea of what a career in computer science could look like. Together, these factors influence 95% of a girl’s decision to pursue a career in coding.
Armed with this information, FreshBooks and Girls Learning Code set out to create the perfect environment to get girls truly excited about the power of code.
For the second year in a row, we set up a March Break day camp in the FreshBooks office. The camp was open to girls ages 8 through 12. Many of the 40 girls who participated were on scholarships, supported by FreshBooks and other sponsors, including Georgian Partners. Over the course of 5 days, the girls were inspired and empowered to tackle tough global problems using technology.
To enable and encourage fun, confidence and collaboration, we structured the camp into small groups of 4. Each group selected a cause close to their hearts, like helping animals or stopping world violence. Over the course of the week, they learned to code solutions to their problem. They also learned the business skills to build a complete digital organization from scratch.
The week culminated with a large gathering of FreshBooks staff, camp participants and parents, where the girls proudly presented their complete project to a group of over 200 – a task that would daunt even the most experienced technologist in the room!
While the experience was transformative for the girls who participated, it was also an incredibly uplifting for the FreshBooks staff who participated in teaching and mentoring the girls. Seeing the girls’ passion for using technology to make the world a better place left us feeling inspired about the work we do every day, empowering entrepreneurs to run their businesses via the cloud. The 40 campers shared their hopeful vision of the future; a world where technology is built by everyone. We hope you’ll join us.
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