code like a girl

or rather, don’t… just code well!

As a female web developer, this is my reaction to the inspiring #likeagirl campaign by Always, which challenges the way people think about the phrase, changing it from an insult to a position of strength. They’ve made a sequel to the 2014 commercial that continues to do this.

The headline of this piece obviously references that, but I don’t want to jump on the rather dated, at least in my opinion, ‘girl power’ bandwagon. Or even worse, Grrrl Power, as if growling it somehow makes it edgier!

Given that it was International Women’s Day earlier this month (Sunday March 8th), I thought I’d share a few of my own thoughts as a website developer who just so happens to have two x chromosomes!

Girls just wanna write code

It’s a statistical fact that the tech industry today lacks women. According to a 2014 Google study, in the mid-1980s, 37% of computer science majors were women. That figure dropped to 18% in 2012. Luckily, things are moving in the right direction, with women making up 26% of the computing workforce in 2013.

Lots of companies and organisations are trying to help things to move things in the right direction. The National Centre for Women & Information Technology is a community of more than 600 establishments working to correct this imbalance of gender diversity. Also, the Makers Academy offer a £500 discount to any females purchasing a learning plan with them.

At the end of 2013, Code.org launched the “Hour of Code” campaign to advocate for more computer science education. After the first week, 15 million students had written more than 500 million lines of code — and more than half of the participants were girls.

Code like a coder

I’ve already spoken about my own love for the language of code. As someone who, on a daily basis, takes a website design and magically transforms it into a functioning, navigable and, dare I say it, devastatingly attractive website, here’s my take on the subject.

I’ve been a part of a few technology organisations for women but, generally, I don’t necessarily think that female-only sign-ups are the answer. For me, they continue to stress a divide between the genders. As far as I’m concerned, a developer is a developer, irrespective of gender and they should be treated equally. Having said that, I do think that it’s great that there are a lot of organisations, like girlswhocode.com, trying to get more young girls and women interested in the tech industry.

With websites and their design becoming a major focus for more and more businesses, I believe it’s hugely beneficial for everyone to expand their knowledge of coding and general technology skills.

In conclusion, I completely agree with the message of the Always advert. “Like a girl” shouldn’t mean anything other than doing something well. In which case, don’t code like a girl or a boy, just code well!

Written by Cheralyn Nadal, Web Developer.

Categories: Technology

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