Digital literacy including coding is as important as other kinds of literacy. And whether we like it or not, computer coding is going to be part of everyone’s future.

We need to change our mind-set from the stereotype that only nerdy or geek looking boys are good at coding. Unless we take deliberate steps to teach our young girls how to code even the simplest language, men and boys will continue to dominate the digital literacy domain and coding skills will become another barrier to true gender equality and further widening the pay gap and other issues such as poor representation of women in top positions within the industry.

Here are 3 reasons why you should encourage young girls to learn how to code:

Jobs

As mentioned before, computer coding is going to be part of everyone’s future, we are all going to be affected by it indirectly or directly, and given the current trends, any field our girls go into, they will be using a computer and it will not be to use Microsoft Office or going on Social Media site. Non-coding jobs will increasingly be elevated and made more relevant by computer skills. If one does not have an understanding of how a basic computer works, they will probably be limited in their career prospects.

They will be empowered.

Growing up, we were meant to believe that women are only good at being homemakers, breast feeding, good listeners, primary care givers, home furnishing and finding lost ties and socks. Based on the traditional believe on what a female should be, we are supposed to heed the advice of experts (men) for they know “best”.

Computer programing / coding is one such domain, out of many, that girls grow up believing that boys are better at.

Coding is a very practical skill that girls can also develop and prove, to themselves and the rest of the world that has since doubted them based on their gender, that they are just as competent.

We are better coders

I recently read a research that shows that GitHub, a software repository, approved code written by women at a higher rate than code that was written by men.

There are traits that are nurtured and rewarded in girls as they grow up, communication skills, team work, multi-tasking and empathy. Such traits are important and very critical in coding. A lot of coding, requires working with other people i.e collaborating and brainstorming ideas as well as compromising.

As women, we need to make to make sure that software solutions that are meant for us, reflect women’s ideas and interest, considering the fact that software is fast becoming global and pervasive.

 Author
Fadzayi Chiwandire Moyo
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