The world is changing, and kids and teens need critical skills to compete in the global economy. At Boys & Girls Clubs, we believe all kids should have an opportunity for a great future. That’s why we’re providing access to programs and activities that spark their interest and expands their skills. With girls accounting for more than half of our membership, we have an even greater responsibility to advance gender parity, especially in Computer Science (CS) and other science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) related fields. Here are 5 reasons to join us in encouraging girls to explore CS and STEM:
- CS/STEM jobs are growing rapidly and will continue to grow. As of 2018, STEM jobs have already grown twice as fast as other occupations. By 2020, there will be 9.2 million jobs in STEM-related fields and according to Code.org, Computing occupations make up ⅔ of all projected new jobs in STEM fields. It is not a matter of if girls will need these skills, but rather how prepared will they be to compete for job opportunities.
- It promotes gender parity in CS/STEM fields. The U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that women make up 58 percent of the U.S. workforce, but only 25 percent of the computing workforce. Providing girls access to fun project-based learning experiences that promote trial and error, such as in after school programs like the Boys & Girls Clubs, is one of the best ways to spark girls’ interest, set them on the track to exploring careers in computer science, and increase the number of women pursuing jobs in the industry.
- Girls lose interest in CS/STEM related subject before they realize their potential. We know that girls are passionate about making a difference in the world and see raising awareness or money for a cause as the primary ways they can help. In 2013, only 14.5 percent of female high school students expressed an interest in STEM fields, as compared to 39.6 percent of male high school students. Helping girls make the connection between how technology supports solving some of the world’s greatest challenges can aid with igniting their interest. Computer Science is what people study to learn how to make or create technology.
- The skills learned through Computer Science concepts extends to other subjects and future careers. Studying Computer Science provides young people a better understanding of computational thinking and gives them critical thinking and problem-solving skills used in non-technology areas as well. Knowing how to approach complex problems, break down the challenges into small pieces and approach resolving them in a logical manner is the kind of thing that writers, designers, lawyers, and builders do all the time. So, having computer science/STEM skills help kids and teens do better at any subject or any job.
- The Boys & Girls Club of Pasadena offers computer science programming through partnership with Microsoft. Boys & Girls Clubs provide a safe place for trial and error without the pressures of tests or grades. Research shows that out-of-school programs, like those offered at Boys & Girls Clubs, are effective in stimulating youth interest in STEM-related careers and sixty-five percent of parents agree that afterschool programs can help children gain interest and skills related to STEM. The CS Pathway, supported by Microsoft, engages members on a journey to learn computer science based on their interests over time. CS is a blend of all the STEM categories because it involves science, technology, engineering, and math.
We’re excited about the future of our Club members and by empowering girls to become the next generation of STEM leaders, we are destined to see transformational impact on our world. Join us in celebrating girls’ interest in computer science.
 Where are the STEM Students? What are their Career Interests? Where are the STEM Jobs?,
https://www.dailyherald.com/assets/PDF/DA127758822.pdf (accessed February 17, 2018)