Since it launched in 2012, Saujani’s program has gone from 20 girls in one classroom to graduating 3,000 girls from clubs and camps across the country. Saujani says 95% of graduates want to major in computer science in college.
These future female developers are valuable to tech companies in ways beyond simply filling open spots. Most Internet purchases are made by women, and understanding their instincts is a key to business success. “We’re falling behind the rest of the world if we don’t teach our girls how to code,” says Megan Smith, VP of Google X, a semisecret facility at Google in California working on advanced technology. In June, after revealing that only 17% of its engineers were women, Google launched a site called Made With Code that features free programming projects for girls. The company pledged $50 million to programs like Girls Who Code.