Black Girls Code gets $2.8m space within Google NY HQ

4 Jul 2016

Black Girls Code now has its own space within the confines of Google’s New York HQ – in a space worth $2.8m – with aims of connecting young girls directly with the tech industry.

Black Girls Code, an organisation founded in 2011 by Inspirefest 2015 speaker Kimberley Bryant, has made strides in encouraging young black girls to pick up coding, given that they are one of the least represented groups in the wider tech sector.

Now, having previously stated that it hopes to introduce 1m girls to coding by 2040, Black Girls Code has managed to acquire a direct line with the tech industry, having agreed a deal with Google to establish an office space in its New York HQ.

According to CNet, the office space, worth $2.8m on the real estate market given its location in Manhattan, has been given to Black Girls Code as a gift to the organisation.

‘We need a tech sector that looks like the society it serves’

The overall aim of giving the organisation its own space next to Google is to shorten the time between a young black girl starting to learn to code, to them landing a job in the tech sector.

In a statement, Google’s head of external affairs, William Floyd, said of the creation of a permanent office space for the organisation: “We need a tech sector that looks like the society it serves, and groups like Black Girls Code are ensuring that we can cultivate and access talent in communities of colour.”

According to Google’s latest diversity report, only 19pc of its workforce globally are women, and only 1pc of its tech staff in the US is black, suggesting that black women are one of the least-represented groups in all of the tech industry.

Other research in the US has shown the stark realities of the sheer underrepresentation found in computer science, where a 2015 study showed that, in 23 states in the US, only 10 black African-American students took an advanced computer science course.

For all women, too

However, speaking last year, its founder Bryant said this was not just an issue for black women, but all women.

“By limiting women in technology we are limiting ourselves to only half of the world’s solutions,” she said.

“A global technology revolution is taking place and if women and girls aren’t part of it, the future for women’s rights is bleak.”

Meanwhile, speaking on the opening of this new permanent office space, Bryant said it will bring a great influence to these young girls: “Pooling our resources together in a very organic, holistic way allows us to make even more impact in terms of increasing diversity in the industry.”

Google’s New York office image via Scott Beale/Flickr

Inspirefest is Silicon Republic’s international event connecting sci-tech professionals passionate about the future of STEM.

Colm Gorey
By Colm Gorey

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic. He joined in January 2014 and covered AI, IoT, science and anything that will get us to Mars quicker. When not trying to get his hands on the latest gaming release, he can be found lost in a sea of Wikipedia articles on obscure historic battles and countries that don't exist any more, or watching classic Simpsons episodes far too many times to count.

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