Thinking as I was on writing a post about my experience in CodeAcademy [1], the webpage name just caught my eye while I was overlooking TechCrunch. And then I read the rest of the article’s header:

Codecademy Partners With Google And DonorsChoose To Boost Girls’ Interest In Computer Science

First thing that has come to my mind? Neil deGrasse Tyson’s opinion about women in science. If you haven’t seen it before, please do it now.

I agree with everything deGrasse says, and that’s why I truly believe that this initiative will ultimately fail. Yes, it will probably help, as the article says, to upgrade the classrooms, and maybe a couple of girls will actually become interested in programming and ultimately become computer scientists [2], but as deGrasse points, the actual problem is not that women don’t feel attracted by science, programming or computers. The real problem is that society discourages and fights against the idea of women studying Computer Science or Computer Engineering. The fact that, without women like Grace Hopper, “the women of ENIAC” and many others alike, computers would not exist as we know them nowadays, seems to be irrelevant for many. Girls are “not meant” to devote their life to computers. They are expected to study Biology, Pharmacy, Botanics, or carreers alike, and any attempt to follow a different path is disencouraged.

And the truth is, setting economic rewards for girls learning to code will not change that picture at all. Probably, many of those who will take the lessons were already interested in programming beforehand. But if we don’t attack the root of the problem, if we as a society don’t stop sending the message that a programmer woman in something weird, then no partnership between companies, no matter how big the cheque, will be able to turn the tide.

Update (26-June-2014)

If someone ever doubted how Society pushes girls away from Sciences, watch this video:


[1] Spoiler: It’s not very possitive.
[2] Not that I think that CodeAcademy is the best way to generate interest in programming. See the previous note and the post on CA that I will (eventually) write.

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