Girls Learning to Code

July 8, 2015
By Forge and Smith

Who codes the world? Girls.

Not-so-subtle Beyoncé references aside, I had the wonderful experience of joining Ladies Learning to Code (LLC) for the Vancouver edition of their Girls Learning to Code summer camp on July 2, 2015. How was it? So amazing.

Who are Ladies Learning to Code?

LLC formed in 2011 as a community initiative to promote diversity in the tech community. Drawing on the expertise of local leaders and mentors, LLC promotes digital literacy for women and youth in 23 cities across Canada. With the help of over 3,000 mentors, LLC has held over 519 workshops to date for a combined attendance of 20,000 adult and youth learners.

Girls Learning to Code summer camp

Not your average summer camp

The annual week-long Girls Learning to Code summer camp held at UBC provides the opportunity for hands-on project-based learning. This approach allows every girl to leave having built something they can show and share. The camp comes in a variety of flavours for aspiring web makers, entrepreneurs and game designers.

Last week’s camp featured a web maker spin. Girls aged 8-13 were encouraged to use their creativity to build an online web presence. Participants began the week envisioning their own non-profit initiative. These explorations culminated in a Friday afternoon showcase with the girls presenting their organizations to family, friends and mentors. Topics explored in the camp include: logo design, html, css, email marketing, crowdfunding videos and more!

Pretty cool huh?

Changing the typical tech landscape

Initiatives like LLC are helping to break down the traditional gender gap associated with the tech community. The percentage of women obtaining a computer science degree declined rapidly after 1984 – leading us all to ask the question: What happened to women in computer science? For an in depth look at the possible causes for this shift I suggest listening to the When Women Stopped Coding episode of planet money.

By helping girls see technology as a vehicle for self expression, creative enterprise and a means to change the world, LLC is helping to spark a whole new generation of digitally literate ladies.

How can you get involved?

Wondering how you can help? Visit ladieslearningcode.com to find out how you can attend or mentor a workshop in your city.

Forge and Smith

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