BAE Systems is making efforts to increase the number of women in the engineering field by helping to provide resources that will teach young girls to code. By partnering with Girls Who Code, they are able to sponsor a summer program that gives girls the ability to practice a range of coding techniques from the comfort of their own home. Explore this article to see what this program has to offer.
In an effort to close the gender gap in various technology and engineering fields, BAE Systems is partnering with Girls Who Code for a unique summer program.
“Women in engineering are still a minority. We are not a large percentage of the workforce in the engineering field,” said Mrinal Iyengar, an engineer at BAE Systems. Iyengar and others at BAE Systems want to show young females that there is a support network committed to providing access to skills they need to break barriers.
As a result, BAE Systems is sponsoring Girls Who Code at Home, which is provided through Girls Who Code, a nonprofit organization hoping to build future female engineers. The free summer program will provide girls ages 8 to 18 with computer science activities to keep them engaged in STEM fields. Some of the activities include building digital memory books, building a website wireframe, creating a virtual game night, debugging a maze and programming a digital story.
“There is a stereotype associated a lot with coding,” said Iyengar, stressing that stereotype may discourage some girls from getting involved in coding. However, as the current generation ages and enters the workforce, it will be more apparent than ever that coding programs are just as important as reading, writing or arithmetic, according to Iyengar.
Girls Who Code at Home is a way for young females to explore coding in a safe setting that may encourage them to consider pursuing certain STEM careers, said Elizabeth Harrington, head of community investments at BAE Systems.
“Girls Who Code can use computer science to address a problem in their school, their community or their world,” said Harrington, who praised the virtual summer program.
New activities are released weekly and vary depending on skill level. Participants are learning basic tools and building a foundation that can help them feel empowered and proud to represent women pioneers in technology, Harrington said.
“I think there is a huge gender inequality in the technical field and, generally speaking, in terms of pay,” said Iyengar.
By encouraging girls to code, it also encourages them to think analytically and think logically by working in teams to collaborate or create a product, whether that is a robot or other device, she said.
With Tuesday being International Women in Engineering Day, it is the ideal time to promote innovation among today’s youth, according to Harrington. The percentage of women who pursue computer science as a career path has continued to decline over the years, said Harrington, explaining she does not want the gender gap in STEM fields to grow further, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While children are out of school and unable to attend traditional summer camps, the Girls Who Code at Home program is an ideal alternative, she added. To learn more about the program, visit girlswhocode.com and select “code at home” under the programs setting.