Yes, the project or initiative has been established for more than 2 years.
Code Like a Girl
Team - who worked on the project/initaitve
Co-founders Ally Watson & Vanessa Doake alongside team of volunteers
Vanessa Doake & Ally Watson (and team!)
Overview - Provide a summary to introduce the project or initiative
Code Like a Girl an award-winning Melbourne-born social enterprise driving change in the tech community; inspiring new generations of girls in Australia to acquire coding as a skill. By building communities, partnering with local tech companies and providing accessible coding education the team are aiming to double female enrolments to IT based degrees in Australia by the year 2025 and increase industry retention rates of skilled female technologists.
By 2020, Australia is predicted to need 700,000+ skilled ICT workers to meet demand. As it currently stands, very few women have the required skills to step into these roles. The number of women studying information technology degrees has fallen from 23% to 15% over the past 10 years, and women currently account for less than 24% of the IT workforce. The lack of women in technology is compounded by the large number of women (56% as opposed to only 17% of men), who are leaving technical positions at the “mid-level” point of their career, just when the loss of their talent is most costly to companies.
Code Like a Girl exists to positively impact these statistics. As part of their many achievements, they introduced Australia’s first independent female focused coding workshops for young girls in grades 1-12 last September (2016). Through these workshops the team aims to promote careers in coding, further education in STEM and provide visible female role models within the technology industry. In their first pilot year of the Junior workshop programme they reached 200 of girls.
Detail the actions implemented as part of the project or initative.
Code Like a Girl introduced Junior Workshops to its services in September 2016:-
- The team secured seed funding of $10k from a pitch which they used to purchase 20 laptops for running their workshops
- Kept all workshops low cost ($15-$30) and accessible for families of low-socioeconomic background
- Created content and an array of curriculums that appealed to young girls. These included Creative coding, VR Game creation, HTML & CSS and Arduino programming
- We went beyond 'drag and drop' programming and taught young girls relevant industry languages and skills
- Through preparation workshops we trained volunteers on how to work with children and break down coding concepts into digestible content
- We have ran 10 junior workshops in Melbourne over a 12 month period
- We are scheduled to run 2 junior workshops as part of Sydney Science Festival
- We took part in hour of code a global initiative
- We took part in Melbourne Knowledge Week with a workshop for ages 16+
Outside of the Junior Workshops we have further demonstrated our passion and commitment to reaching girls at a young age to inspire them into careers in tech:-
- Co-founder Ally Watson participated in a Choose Maths campaign that aims to empower Australian students to pursue mathematics
- Delivered a keynote at a High School whilst up in Queensland for the Myriad Festival
- Delivered a keynote at a high school film screening of Hidden Figures
Detail the approach that was taken to implement the project or initative.
Code Like a Girl workshops are a great place for girls to come together and learn to code for the first time; we speak clearly, avoid jargon and our workshops are facilitated by industry experts who are eager to share their learnings and knowledge. It’s their safe place to ask questions and be curious about the world of technology. We put a great emphasize in providing girls with a nurturing environment to comfortably learn and explore different areas of coding at their own pace, based on their interests.
We not only teach girls computational thinking and coding skills but we spend time empowering young girls to feel confident in the area of technology. Compared to other providers, Code Like a Girl have gone to a huge amount of effort to ensure our workshops are available at an affordable cost to attendees, whilst maintaining high standards.
We believe what makes us unique:-
- Emphasis on female role modeling; all facilitators are women who are working in technology or tech-education
- Low cost
- Jargon free
- Our technical expertise gives us an advantage to create tech agnostic and engaging workshops that go beyond drag and drop programming
Was there organisational/industry or other resistance to the initiative? If so, detail the actions taken to overcome resistance to the project or initiative.
A social impact initiative that challenges the status quo will always find resistance, Code Like a Girl is no exception.
There were some that vocalised men’s rights claims which denied the privilege experienced by men, particularly in the tech sector.
The support of our community, the overwhelmingly positive response from the media, and the constant requests for our services assisted us in overcoming the minimal resistance received.
Detail the follow up or response to the project or initative by the organisation /industry /sector. For example has it been extended for a further year, or has the scope been expanded?
Our workshops have been met with an overwhelmingly positive response from both attendees and parents. We survey all attendees and have received 100% satisfaction from the workshops we've delivered thus far.
We are now seeking an education partner and funding to roll out our workshops nationally. The success of what we've achieved in Melbourne over the last 12 months has meant the demand for our services has increased and with a business plan in place we intend to meet this demand within the next 12-24 months.
Code Like a Girl wholeheartedly believes that any girl, from any background should have access to coding education and feel supported in this journey.
Please provide 2 references being the beneficiaries or people that experienced the change (as a result of the initiative). Details to be provided should include:
4. Phone number
6. Short description (up to 250 words) of association with the nominated diversity initiative eg as a beneficiary, experiencing the outcome, etc.
- Genie Abramoff
2&5. Parent of a participant
0414 414 183
- My daughter Ammia, aged 13, has attended three Code Like a Girl workshops in the last 12 months and is booked to attend another this July.
Ammia started an elective coding subject at the beginning of high school to discover she was the only girl in the class. She found it an intimidating environment and that her coding interests were not addressed in preference to the majority.
After her first Code Like a Girl workshop she has been diligent to keep checking what other sessions Code Like a Girl is planning to run, (usually in the school holidays) and we adjust our holiday plans so she has been able to join each workshop.
The workshops have always been able to cater for everyone's coding level and experience so she has never felt 'lost' of bored no matter the skill of the other participants. When I collected her after the first workshop Ammia's first comment was "I didn't know there were other girls like me". She has continued teaching herself computer skills in her own time as recommended by the Code Like a Girl facilitators and is now using her knowledge and confidence particularly in her Architecture and Visual Design classes at school.
I am sure that had we not found Code Like a Girl Ammia would have dropped her interest in developing her computer skills since her school had no interest in fostering her interests.
- Code Like a Girl
- Coding instructor
- I discovered Code Like a Girl after attending several coding meet-ups where I was the only female attendee. I'm the only developer in a small studio and found it really difficult to find inspiration, learn new things and connect to other developers because I was always 'the odd one out'. Code Like a Girl presented a safe environment where I could attend meet-ups, participate in discussions, teach workshops and watch young girls learn skills that I wish I was able to learn as a child. I've seen girls using their imagination to give me dance instructions (while pretending that I'm a robot), create extraordinary games on their computers, share computers to code together and explain complex coding terms like algorithms, functions or loops. Everytime we teach a junior workshop, I get inspired and amazed at what the girls are capable of.
After I started teaching at CLG, I wanted to broaden my skills by teaching more people how to code and write about the tech industry. I expressed this to a few members which then lead to a job at a school as a teacher but also a job as a writer for a coding blog. These are jobs that I had been searching for, for years but could only get with the help of CLG. The junior workshops keep on inspiring my work and give me a lot of hope of that we will have a whole lot of women in the tech industry in the future.
What outcomes have been achieved against overall program or organisational performance? Using metrics specify these outcomes, for example financial, growth, policy achievement, performance or capabciltiy uplift?
Code Like a Girl’s success has allowed us to expand our services into a new state, giving us opportunity to reach an additional 1200+ girls in our first 12 months.
We have entered into 12-month financial partnerships with leading organisations including Envato, Xero, Canon Australia, Odecee and DiUS. These partnerships are allowing us to be involved in diversity and inclusion strategies that will help create a more equal and gender diverse workforce.
Our impact and significant contribution to the Australian tech community has been recognised with in-kind support from leading tech companies in Australia including Canva and Google Australia.
The success of our programs has allowed Code Like a Girl to launch a new employment based service for our community of women to assist them in finding employment with organisations that are actively working to achieve gender equality in their workplace.
We have more than doubled the size of our online community from 3000 to over 7000 people and growing.
Our impact has not gone unnoticed, Code Like a Girl was recognised in the top 9 Australian Entrepreneurs by The Age and Sydney Morning Herald, Women in Media Technology award from B&T magazine and a Gold Disruptor Award at the Australian Computer Science Digital Disruptor awards.