Google Takes a Bold Step to Get More Girls Into Computer Science


Google is trying to right its wrongs.

The news: Just weeks after its first diversity report revealed that the company is overwhelmingly white and male, Google is launching a new initiative to help get more girls into computer science.

Why it matters: Less than a third of Google's workforce — and even more dismal 17% of its tech staff — are women, as shown in its diversity report. Close to two-thirds of the company is white. Just 3% are Hispanic. Only 2% are black. And about a third are classified as "Asian," a category that doesn't differentiate between Southeast Asian, Japanese or Korean (Pacific Islanders are lumped into the "other" category.). Although the stats are dismal, Google deserves props for releasing the information: Only 7% of the S&P 100 are transparent about those numbers.

First graphic: Google staff demographics overall. Second graphic: Google tech staff demographics. Image Credit: Google

The new initiative, called Made With Code, offers coding classes, game workshops and app camps designed around six different projects you create with code. Google has pledged $50 million to back up the idea, which it says will encourage more girls to get into computer science. Participants are encouraged to make everything from 3D-printed bracelets to GIFs or a custom music sequence. Most impressive about the project are its partners, which include Black Girls Code, KIPP schools and Seventeen.

Google isn't the only tech company with a diversity problem: Over at LinkedIn, 61% of the workforce are men and 53% of them are white. Yahoo is 62% male and 50% white. And overall, while women represent half of the workforce, they made up just 26% of all science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) jobs in 2011.

Above: LinkedIn demographics. Image Credit: LinkedIn.

Above: Yahoo demographics. Image Credit: NPR

Made With Code won't solve all of the issues preventing science and tech companies from creating a workforce that's representative of reality, but it's a good first step. Go Google.