Girls Who Code and Bank of America Hold Changemaker Event to Promote Girls’ Participation in Computer Science

Charlotte, NC (April 26, 2018) — Girls Who Code CEO and Founder Reshma Saujani was joined by North Carolina Secretary of Administration Machelle Sanders for an event sponsored by Bank of America to demonstrate how girls’ participation in computer science can drive innovation. Charlotte City Councilmember Gregory Phipps, and Valerie Truesdale, Associate Superintendent for Personalization and School Partnerships for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools spoke about sparking interest in computer science for girls in Charlotte.

Saujani and Sanders held a fireside chat to discuss the importance of closing the gender gap in computer science in North Carolina. The chat focused on the importance of mentors for women and girls, how girls can help fill the skills gap in computer science across North Carolina and the importance of bravery for girls. They were joined by more than 175 students from 6 middle schools from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, who participated in a coding ideation session to create solutions to the problems they see in their own communities.

“North Carolina is a leader in computing jobs, but less than one-fifth of computer science graduates are female,” said Reshma Saujani, founder, and CEO of Girls Who Code. “North Carolina has made great strides in expanding access to computer science, and we are excited to begin the conversation about closing the participation gap for girls, especially girls of color. As we saw through today’s coding activity, girls use technology to become changemakers.”

“Eighty-five percent of the jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t even been invented yet,” said Secretary Sanders.  “The program we saw here today, Girls Who Code, is encouraging young women to develop the skills they’ll need for the jobs of tomorrow – and helping to develop the workforce North Carolina needs to be competitive today and tomorrow.”

“With only a small percentage graduates with computer and information science degrees being women, we recognize the importance of working to close the technology gender gap,” explains Aditya Bhasin, consumer, small business & wealth management technology executive at Bank of America. “Partnering with the Girls Who Code program gives Bank of America the opportunity to engage and spark the interest of these gifted young women in science, technology, engineering and math careers.”

“These young women provide a glimpse into the future of the fintech workforce,” added Craig Froelich, Bank of America’s chief information security officer. “The diversity of thought they’ll bring to the table will be critical to protecting the nation from cyber threats. Girls Who Code is cultivating the next generation of security executives, and I’m excited to be part of their journey.”

North Carolina’s tech industry is rapidly expanding, with demand for computing jobs in the state more than four times the national average. However, only one in five computer science graduates in the state are female, and only one in four students taking an AP Computer Science exam is female. 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%. This dynamic is leaving out a generation of future innovators. Computer science helps girls unlock their potential to be changemakers, tackling the biggest challenges that our communities are facing today.

“We have an opportunity here to encourage all girls, especially girls of color, to embrace the wealth of career prospects available through Charlotte’s flourishing tech industry,” said Charlotte City Councilman Greg Phipps. “By expanding the reach of technology to those who have not previously been included, we are creating a richer, more vibrant workforce that benefits all of Charlotte.”

“We are so excited to expand Girls Who Code in Charlotte,” said Valerie Truesdale, Associate Superintendent for Personalization and School Partnerships. “CMS is committed to building critical thinking skills for all learners. Coding is one way to open students’ awareness of possibilities and build their skills.”

Girls Who Code Clubs launched in 2013 to bring girls-focused computer science education to all 50 states, and held more than 90 Clubs in North Carolina in the 2017-2018 school year. 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. This summer, Girls Who Code will launch the first Summer Immersion Program in North Carolina, hosted by Bank of America in Charlotte.

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, 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 90 thousand girls in all 50 states and several U.S. territories. To join the movement or learn more, visit girlswhocode.com.