Highlights Partnership with Governor to expand girls’ participation in computer science across Maryland

Annapolis, MD (March 16, 2017) — Girls Who Code and Governor Larry Hogan (R-MD) celebrated their partnership with a showcase of computer science impact projects designed by Girls Who Code Clubs from across Maryland. The projects were designed to solve a specific set of policy challenges that face Maryland, and include projects designed to connect local residents to low cost services, to connect younger girls to coding resources, and to help students make education decisions with an eye on the future.

In November, Governor Hogan announced the Maryland Clubs Challenge, to expand Girls Who Code Clubs across Maryland with a focus on designing computer science Impact Projects that address issues facing Maryland. In the 4 months since then, the number of Girls Who Code Clubs across Maryland has quadrupled. The Governor’s commitment to closing the gender gap has extended to the ACCESS Act, legislation that is aimed toward increasing participation by girls and other underrepresented minorities in K-12 computer science courses in Maryland’s schools.

“Maryland leads the nation in tech job creation, but less than a quarter of the workforce is female,” said Reshma Saujani, founder and CEO of Girls Who Code. “Governor Hogan has shown a true commitment to closing the gender gap by working to expand computer science across Maryland in a way that will attract more girls. Through our partnership with the Governor’s office, we have been able to spark the interest of hundreds more girls, who will go on to be future female coders.”

“I am thrilled to celebrate the success of these incredible young women who are helping to address some of the policy issues affecting our state,” said Governor Hogan. “Through our partnership, we will continue to close the gender gap in technology, and ensure the next generation of young Marylanders have the skills necessary to lead, innovate, and be at the cutting edge for the jobs of the future.”

Today, women represent one of the single largest untapped sources of talent in the technology field.  In Maryland, there are more than 22,000 open computing jobs, and the state is leading the country in STEM job creation. Yet, only 20 percent of computer science graduates in the state are female and only 31 percent of AP computer science test takers in Maryland are female. Maryland ranks second in the ratio of female workers in tech occupations, but that ratio is still less than 25 percent.  Nationally, the gap is growing; in 1995, women made up almost 40% of the computing workforce, yet today that number is less than 25%. According to research from Accenture, in 10 years at the current rate, women’s representation will fall to 22%.

“I have been enthralled by code since elementary school,” said Katie Spiegel, a Club member from Howard County who attends River Hill High School. “I have been fortunate to be a part of my Girls Who Code Club to keep that passion alive. My Club has not only given me coding skills that I am using in my high school computer science classes, but also gave me a community of girls that doesn’t exist for me anywhere else in my coding experience.”

Girls Who Code Clubs launched in 2013 to bring girls-focused computer science education to all 50 states. The program runs throughout the academic year and teaches 6-12th grade girls to use computer science to impact their community alongside supportive peers and role models.

About Girls Who Code

Girls Who Code is a national non-profit organization working to close the gender gap in technology and change the image of what a programmer looks like and does. With their 7-week Summer Immersion Program, a 2-week specialized Campus Program, after school Clubs, and a 13-book New York Times best-selling series, they are leading the movement to inspire, educate, and equip young women with the computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities. By the end of the 2018 academic year, Girls Who Code will have reached over 50 thousand girls in all 50 states and several US territories. To join the movement or learn more, visit girlswhocode.com.