“Sisterh>>d” of the Girls Who Code


Brianna Adkins

Girls Who Code had perfect timing when they announced that they would be launching their new project on the International Day of the Girl, Oct. 11. The “Sisterh>>d” project, a visual album dedicated to uplifting young women into S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) careers, is a new initiative from the female coding organization. Thousands of young women celebrated the release by writing a hashtag on their hand with a social issue or topic—gender equality, the wage gap, racial representation, etc.—that was important to them personally.

The hashtag started a trending topic in social media that celebrated the anticipated release of the album from the female-centered organization, setting the project up for success before it was fully released.

“Sisterh>>d,” titled with its relation to uplifting all women and promoting intersectional feminism, is a digital visual album that is a celebratory project for “young women driving our most transformative movements—and calling on girls around the world to join them.”

The campaign, which is labeled as “for girls by girls,” cites that their advisory council consists of 50 plus Girls Who Code alumni and “inspiring girl changemakers from around the world.”

One of these “changemakers” is Vivian Phung. She’s a Kode with Klossy scholar, Computer Science major at Bryn Mawr College, Girls Who Code alum, and so much more. “The Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program was where I started my journey in computer science and gained the confidence that I could do anything in [and out of] technology,” Phung stated.

For many young women, these platforms dedicated to getting more women into S.T.E.M. careers is where the introduction to these fields happens. Girls Who Code, Kode with Klossy, #BuiltByGirls—all of these organizations were built with the motivation to introduce young women to coding, robotics, and more.

The intent behind “Sisterh>>d” was to do just that. By using colorful graphics to entice younger audiences and integrating popular artists like Lizzo Beating into their album, they kick-started a project with the intent to inspire—and it did.

“The purpose of the ‘Sisterh>>d’ album is to inspire girls to act, know that they will always have a supportive network of sisters, and that they can create change with and without technology,” explained Phung.

According to statistics from Girls Who Code, in 1995 a minuscule 37 percent of computer scientists identified as female. Currently, the number has shifted to a staggeringly low 24 percent. They predict that with no work put towards these numbers to increase female interest in S.T.E.M., it will drop all the way to 22 percent in just ten years.

University student and Computer Science major, Elysha Ang, is one of these young women calling for representation in such a male-dominated career. As a #BuiltByGirls member and past Kode with Klossy scholar, the hope for more women to enter these male-driven fields has not disappeared.

“As a young woman in the twenty first century, I am aware of the kind of world we live in today,” Ang explained. “[It’s wild] how we are still fighting for our rights, when the strong women in the 60’s thought gender inequality would have been only an issue of the past and be almost nonexistent in 2018. It is also important to exemplify a strong female presence in the STEM community because it will inspire to the youth to do the same!”

Students like Ang are challenging young women to join these careers to boost up female representation. It’s all about inspiring younger generations to find fields of interest they want to join in S.T.E.M. and sticking with it.

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#Sisterhood is an unbreakable bond. Today. Tomorrow. Forever.

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Organizations like Girls Who Code and students like Phung and Ang hope to challenge young women to fight for their own representation and to challenge S.T.E.M. career executives to hire these young women fighting for a place to sit at the table.