Google uses ‘Wonder Woman’ to inspire next generation of female programmers

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A recent study co-published by Google and Gallup states that just 48 percent of girls between seventh and 12th grade are “very confident” they could learn computer science, compared to 65 percent of boys. An International Game Developers Survey from 2014 estimated that although the percentage of female game developers had more than doubled since 2009, women still only represented less than a quarter of the industry.

Clearly there’s an imbalance that has pervaded the field. And although tech companies have made strides in terms of representation, there’s still much work ahead. Even Google, it must be said, has come under fire in recent years for failing to do enough to fix the lack of diversity within its walls — especially where equal pay is concerned. And that brings us to this week.

Women With Byte looks at the many contributions women have made to technology past and present, the hurdles they faced (and overcame), and the foundations for the future they’ve laid for the next generations.
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On Friday, Wonder Woman hits theaters, and Google is using the opportunity to take action. The company has developed an interactive coding project to introduce girls to the fundamentals of the trade. The experience will allow budding programmers to recreate three unique scenes from the movie.

Meanwhile, the DC Legends mobile RPG available through the Play Store has been updated with new missions where gamers can play as Wonder Woman.

The coding project is being headed up by Made With Code, Google’s initiative to empower young women to pursue careers in computer science — whether they have some tech know-how or none at all. It will be accompanied by an advance screening of the film, where 100 teen girls from the Los Angeles area will be invited to see Wonder Woman before getting the opportunity to try the programming experience for themselves.

Google is hoping that by helping girls become acquainted with the basics, it can chip away at societal norms and stereotypes that push women away from technical industries like computer science. A great deal of the pressure is exerted at home and in schooling — so much so that Made With Code concludes “encouragement from adults and peers is the No. 1 contributor to a teen girl’s decision to pursue computer science.”

Those interested can visit Made With Code to explore other projects similar to the Wonder Woman one. Additionally, parents and teachers can use the site’s resources to discover ways to introduce programming to the young women in their lives.

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