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MOUNTAIN VIEW (KPIX 5) — Getting more high school girls into computer science – and more women into male-dominated Silicon Valley – is the purpose of a $50 million campaign launched by Google Thursday.
The campaign called “Made with Code” hopes to attract girls to the world of computer programming with grants to coding institutions along with website promotion, events and activities.
The Mountain view Internet giant, with a 70 percent male workforce, is looking to bridge the gap where only 18 percent of computer science graduates are female.
Those women who do take that route battle outdated stereotypes.“My main problem was the stigma around it … ‘Oh, you do computer science?’ You must be totally antisocial and not talk to anybody,” said coding student Prachie Banthia. “You know, I think that’s something that– I don’t know if it hurts young girls more than it hurts young boys, but it definitely affected me a lot.”
According to a nationwide study sponsored by Google, girls don’t have enough exposure to computer science, but it doesn’t mean they’re not interested.
The company thinks with encouragement from parents, friends, teachers, role models and mentors, they can change that.
Advocates say having a lopsided workforce that lacks diversity is a poor business strategy.
“If we don’t have women in computer science, we’re missing half of the population,” said Maria Klawe, president of Harvey Mudd College. “And if you don’t have a diverse workforce, diverse teams working on it, you get crummy solutions. So you need women at the table.”
Google’s Made With Code initiative was kicking off with an event in New York Friday, boosted by a performance from indie rockers Icona Pop. Actress Mindy Kaling was the master of ceremonies and Chelsea Clinton offered a keynote address.