Since its founding in 2011, Black Girls CODE (BGC) has been a prominent name and leading figure among the organizations focusing on Black empowerment and giving females more opportunities in STEM. This San Francisco-based organization is giving countless girls a chance to take charge of their future and express their voice and artistic vision.
The mission of Black Girls Code
Black Girls CODE is a non-profit that has the main goal to bring tech education to young girls of color between the ages of 7 and 11. With a focus on racial equality, something that we have seen recently is not yet a reality, BGC looks to give African-American youths the same opportunities that anyone else would get.
Black Girls CODE reaches out to the community on a regular basis, through workshops and after-school programs that teach the young girls how to operate a computer, in case they don’t know. They also learn how to code like a professional, with the hopes that they will not only gain interest in this field but want to pursue a tech career as adults.
There is no way about it, coding and the digital world are the future. Knowing how to create something through code is not only useful but it is part of creating positive change in the world. For young African-American females who might not otherwise have that opportunity, the non-profit opens many doors for them that sadly might not have been there because of their race. Furthermore, women are underrepresented in STEM fields for many reasons, including the gender pay divide and sexism.
The mission of Black Girls CODE is “to prove to the world that girls of every color have the skills to become the programmers of tomorrow.” Their main focus is on Black girls as many of them come from underprivileged communities and lack the possibility to learn coding skills.
As per their website’s What We Do page, the goal of BGC is to “provide African-American youth with the skills to occupy some of the 1.4 million computing job openings expected to be available in the U.S. by 2020″ and to
“train 1 million girls by 2040”
Wow, that’s an impressive goal. It’s one that Black Girls CODE is quite likely to achieve too through their impressive dedication and remarkable outreach. At present, BGC operates across seven states in the US, as well as in Johannesburg, South Africa. They also have plans of opening a branch in eight new cities to make their dream possible.
Learning new skills in childhood
Often, children learn new skills faster than adults, so it makes sense to focus the coding initiative on kids. They will likely have more ease with tech than someone who learns to code in their adult years. Thus, it is important to reach these girls when they are still young as their brains are more prepared to absorb knowledge than when they are older.
However, a recent US Census Bureau study showed a digital divide whereby children from non-white and non-Asian households were less likely to have access to the internet. That finding held true even in areas with greater internet access overall for African-American kids, low income, Latinx, and English-as-a-second-language students. The exception was in places where private industry brought in internet access and tech for tech workers.
That finding fuels the need for non-profits like Black Girls CODE that provide equal opportunities for those who have educational disparities, such as African-American girls.
Opening these young African-American girls’ eyes to the digital world and all the possibilities that coding offers is the goal of BGC. This organization devotes itself to giving them a chance to develop and grow what may turn out to be a lifelong passion.
At the time of this writing, Black Girls CODE has taught no less than 3,000 girls. Through fun and accessible programs like Ruby on Rails and Scratch, these girls have had a valuable introduction to coding. Some of them likely are already be looking for ways to develop this knowledge and will be the leaders of tomorrow.