Unlocking the clubhouse

I recently finished a book that asks what is the question: “How can women change to fit into computer science? Or “How can computer science change to attract more women.”

Boys and Girls Club in Green Country (North East Oklahoma) has a club house located at 1111 SE 9th St, Pryor, OK.  If you  google it you may first find Pryor, Texas.  It has recently been painted with four rich colors, green, blue, yellow, and red, that was donated labor and materials from Google.  For Google, who has a data center nearby that has been quoted to be the place where “Matrix” people are plugged in, these different colors represent different personalities types.

However, one of the “Must Reads books, if you read nothing else” for our VISTA CODE CORE, placed at different cities across America in Boys and Girls Club, is by the author of Jane Margolis and Allan Fisher. The  must read book is called Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing, and this book painted the walls of the club house differently.

Unlocking Clubhouse

There are more men then women in computer science.  When women choose to study computer science they ask themself:  “Does computer science has a place for me?” and “How come the boys know how to do this, but I don’t know how to do this?”

Who takes the AP (Advance Placement, a test that is an option in High School) Computer Science test?

  • In Oklahoma, there were only 359 computer science graduates in 2013, and only 13% were female.
  • Only 206 high school students in Oklahoma took the AP Computer Science exam in 2015; female represented 24%; Hispanic represented 12%, and black represented 7%.

*Statistics came from https://code.org/advocacy/state-facts/OK.pdf

A question we could ask ourselves when becoming Guru’s in CS First Clubs, a computer science enrichment club that offers materials free, is “Does Computer Science orientation allow for success and a sense of belonging in the discipline for all, including women and minorities?”

Some suggestions from this book were:

  • to provide information about gender issue (their example was in the women’s bathroom stalls a flyer called Stall Steet Journal)
  • have computer problems that are based off real data
  • form a Gender Equity Committee
  • provide more information on women or minority as role models in computer science (such as Grace Hopper and Ada Lovelance)
  •  have a computer science professional that is a minority or a women talk to those who want to study computer science

For Pryor, we are hosting a HackOut at Boys and Girls Club in December 2015, that is trying to allow youth to solve one of the communities pressing problems:  How to Hack out Boredom for the youth

If you want to volunteer as a judge to help at this event, you can register via volunteer spot.  If not, please consider hosting a CS First Club. Gurus wanted, who lead video based activities, and no experience in computer science is needed!


Bringing More Women Into Tech

One of the biggest goals of the VISTA Code Corps program is to give kids who would be less likely to participate in computer science, including girls, a chance to start working with CS. In my time as a VISTA, I’ve had the privilege of attending a few different trainings on including girls in computer science as well as STEM. Here is some of what I’ve learned.
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