Promoting coding for girls

Coding for the future: (from left) Elena having a discussion with Shriya, Aaleyah and Amanda.

SOME 80 girls aged between 12 and 18 from 38 schools across Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand and Vietnam got together recently to participate in a virtual coding competition organised by Girls In Code SEA.

Coding problems addressed in the competition were based on the theme “Behind the Screens”, which explored the processes of various popular applications, a press release from Girls In Code SEA, an organisation dedicated to empowering and overcoming the stigma of female coders in South-East Asia, read.

The aim was to encourage participants to become warier of background processes for applications they use on a daily basis while learning how to code.

Held on March 18 and 19, the event also saw participants joining a Python programming workshop. In addition, they heard from Deloitte tech analyst Sham Fang Ying, and Rising Star of Women in ICT ASEAN 2021 and AI engineer Dr Fairoza Amira Hamzah, during the talks featuring inspirational women who have carved a name for themselves in the industry.Its director Elena Foong said Girls In Code SEA is dedicated to promoting female inclusivity in the tech industry.

“Our team of female computer scientists from Garden International School comprises project managers Amanda Lee, Aaleyah Adam and Shriya Kalyan,” she said, adding that though the situation is improving, women are still a minority in tech careers.

According to Zippia Research, women only made up 28% of the tech industry workforce in the United States as of 2022, she said. “The lack of tech exposure and awareness of female role models contributes to the problem.

“Girls In Code SEA aims to achieve an increased female presence in tech by making computer science education accessible and fostering a supportive community of girls interested in the field,” she said, adding that participants hailed the competition as “challenging yet fun and educational”.

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