February 28, 2020
Some facts about computer science in America:
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2022 there will be more than 1.4 million computing-related job openings. At this rate, the U.S. can fill only 30 percent of these jobs with U.S. graduates.
According to WIRED, white men dominate college computer science departments with more than 30,000 participants, and black women make up only three percent of undergraduate computer science degrees.
Question: How do we bridge that gender and racial gap in today’s tech marketplace and prepare girls and women for the technology jobs of the future?
Answer: Kimberly Bryant and the Black Girls Code movement.
In 2011, Bryant founded Black Girls Code, a not-for-profit organization that focuses on providing technology education for African-American girls. Her passion to help young black women succeed in the tech field sprang not just from the discouraging statistics, but from her own story.
Bryant was born in 1967. Growing up in Memphis, Tennessee—where 65.5 percent of the population is black—she never met a black engineer in her city. So she defied the odds and did the unthinkable: she became one herself, graduating with an electrical engineering degree from Vanderbilt University.
Bryant was ecstatic her daughter wanted to walk in her footsteps, but frustrated the computer science courses available to her daughter were boy dominated and lacked African-American girl representation.
So she developed her own solution.
She created Black Girls Code to empower young women of color between the ages of 7-17 to embrace themselves as builders and creators with outposts in Atlanta, Detroit, New York, San Francisco and Memphis, among other cities. Her goal: teach one million black girls to code by 2040.
Her organization offers programs to mold the next generation of coders including “Code A Brighter Future,” a workshop to teach black girls how to code and design mobile apps that help solve problems in their communities, and “BGC Hackathon,” a three-day course to bring girls together and solve problems around a selected theme.
Kimberly Bryant is a tech trailblazer and activist working to close the gender and minority gap and prepare African-American girls to compete and lead in the global digital economy. Thank you for empowering, inspiring, and elevating future #WomenInTech.
Learn more about Black Girls Code: http://www.blackgirlscode.com/.