Seventh graders Geralynn, Salai and Priscilla (left to right) work on learning to code at the Athens-Clarke County library Girls Who Code club. Priscilla, who hopes to program robots in the future, believes the club is an important resource for young girls. “Boys are the ones encouraged to do coding but it’s important for girls to have the chance too. (I would recommend the club) because it will inspire girls to learn how to code and program the computer,” Priscilla said. Photo by Elena Gilbertson Hall
*The students’ last names and school names were omitted for safety reasons.
Every Wednesday, the Athens-Clarke County Library hosts a Girls Who Code club with the goal of getting more girls interested in coding.
For an hour every Wednesday after school, girls in grades six to twelve are exposed to the basics of coding and programming at the Athens-Clarke County Library.
The club is connected to the national organization Girls Who Code, with the mission of closing the gender gap in technology. Each 15-week session of the club chooses a community issue to focus on solving.
“Our session chose equal rights for race, religion and LGBTQ+. Throughout the session we work on building a website that educates on our topic through videos, biographies, games and activities – all of which the girls will code directly into the website,” ACC library teen services supervisor Devera Chandler said. “The overall purpose and goals of the program are to further educate the girls in coding skills as well as community involvement.”
Coding is not regularly incorporated into school curriculums which causes clubs like Girls Who Code to have an even greater impact.
“I would like to get a better understanding of coding, how it works and how computers can learn from humans and vice versa. I don’t think our school offers any coding programs or classes,” seventh grader and member of the Girls Who Code club Geralynn said. “(The Girls Who Code club) is fun and a great learning experience and if you don’t know anything about coding, you can learn from teachers or other people around you.”
Participants have joined the club for various reasons, including help improving skills for future careers.
“I definitely want to be an engineer and an architect. My dream school is (the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) so coding will probably pop up,” seventh grader and member of the Girls Who Code club Salai said. “I think it’s important for girls to know how to do a lot of things, especially because in the world today we are overlooked — we have to go the extra mile compared to a guy.”