Could a Black Girl Be the Next Steve Jobs?

Black Girls Code is heading up workshops around the country in which 7- to 17-year-olds learn to build websites in a day.

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Julianne Hing/ColorLines

When it comes to black, Latina and Native American women earning computer science degrees, the numbers aren't looking too good: In 2009 they were roughly 5 percent of new graduates. These days, just 1-in-10 people working in science and tech fields are women of color, ColorLines reports.

Add to that the fact that students of color are more likely than their white peers to live in low-income neighborhoods with schools that offer fewer educational opportunities to explore computer technology. But one organization, headed up by Kimberley Bryant, is out to change all that. Black Girls Code is hosting daylong workshops teaching black girls ages 7 to 17 how to build a website in a day.

The goal, according to Bryant: "I want these girls to be the next Mark Zuckerberg, the next Steve Jobs, and be the women that are creating and building positions of leadership in tech."

Aita Zulu, on her first try and on her first day with computer programming, made a website. And then a day later and on her own, she made a second ...

It was her first time taking part in the organization’s trainings. Zulu, an 11-year-old who lives in Alameda with her parents and seven siblings, was at Black Girls Code's San Francisco training with her younger sister Keikilani this Saturday as part of the organization's Summer of Code series to teach black girls aged 7 to 17 how to build a website in a day. In just a year and a half, Black Girls Code has already reached hundreds of youth. On Saturday, the 55 girls in San Francisco were joined by over a hundred girls in Chicago and Atlanta taking part in identical workshops.

... "I didn’t think it would go well. I thought it was going to be a lot more complicated, but [Black Girls Code instructors] explained it really thoroughly," Zulu said of her first foray into coding. "It turned out to be kinda easy."

That's exactly the kind of confidence Black Girls Code founder Kimberly Bryant wants girls of color to come away from the workshops with. "I want these girls to be the next Mark Zuckerberg, the next Steve Jobs, and be the women that are creating and building positions of leadership in tech," she said. If Zulu's quick gains are any indication, the young organization is well on its way to meeting its goal.

Read more at ColorLines.

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