In perfect timing for today’s Girls in ICT Day comes our interview with the founder of Black Girls Code Kimberly Bryant. She started Black Girls Code in 2011 and it is now active in seven US cities, as well as Johannesburg, South Africa.
Bryant attended the recent #DojoCon13 event at Slane Castle in Co Meath, where she said that every month, 1,000 girls learn coding; the lingua franca of the 21st century.
“I founded Black Girls Code from my desire as a mother to find opportunities for my 12-year-old at the time to learn about computer programming and to make something rather than just playing video games,” Bryant said.
“I was looking for opportunities for her to grow and find out what her own interests and passions were around technology.”
Bryant said she found the technology industry really wasn’t as inclusive as she thought it should be, and she wanted to do something about that, too.
Changing the future of the world
The socio-economic opportunities that will stem from teaching girls to code are immense, she said.
“It offers a tremendous amount of power to change the face not just of technology but really the future of the whole world in giving the next generation and future leaders these skill sets which will take them beyond what we can even imagine in the 21st century.”
Bryant said that not only has learning how to code inspired greater confidence in the minds of the young girls and greater abilities to be self-taught, but economic opportunities are presenting themselves also.
“We have no grand ideas that everyone is going to be the next Mark Zuckerberg, but someone might. Even if they don’t they will have a valuable skill set in their pockets that can help them to be successful in their futures, whether they do medicine or marketing.
“One of my students, a shy but bright kid, has been selected by her school to teach and shape the school’s coding curriculum and they are going to pay her. Just seeing her have these opportunities is what makes the difference,” she said.
Women Invent Tomorrow is Silicon Republic’s year-long campaign to champion the role of women in science, technology, engineering and maths