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Google spaffs $50 MILLION on 'get girls coding' campaign

Let's hope it goes a bit better than UK gov's Year of Code drive

Google sign outside Mountain View headquarters

It's a job that involves long hours sitting in front of a computer, bashing characters into a computer while ignoring the happy people who are outside, frolicking in the sunshine. What hip young woman wouldn't want to be a computer programmer?

With this in mind, Google has embarked upon a $50m drive to encourage women to get involved in the potentially lucrative world of coding.

The video here, put together by Google, shows various images of women in space, in the White House and at the UN, with the aim of wooing girls into the world of computer science before they go off to university and learn about something else.

“Coding is a fundamental skill that’s going to be a part of almost everything,” Megan Smith, veep of hush-hush R&D lab Google X told Time. “So for kids to really at a minimum just be able to express themselves in code and make things and feel confident, that would be important — no matter what their career is.”

Google also launched the Made With Code website, showcasing all the interesting stuff (music programmes, video games and 3D printers) which can be produced by coding.

The website emphasises community and friendship, showing young ladies that they can still end up as cool as Taylor Swift or Carrie Bradshaw if they become a computer coder.

There's a long way to go yet. According to Google's stats, just 0.4 per cent of American girls choose to major in computer science.

"TV and movie pop culture often depicts computer science as all about sitting in a dark room, in front of a small screen, processing cascades of numbers," Google warned. "In reality, CS includes the knowledge and skills necessary to build the next generation of software and hardware tools that the world needs.

"Computing skills can enable girls to pursue their passions, no matter what they are. Coding touches every field a girl could work in, from medicine to race-car driving. Even if being a software developer isn’t at the top of her list, fields like social media, music, crime-scene investigation, video gaming, fashion, farming, government, education, design, manufacturing, or film and special effects very well might be."

So what about female-dominated professions? What's being done to encourage men to become vets, nurses, social workers or teachers - professions which come with superb pensions, unparalleled job security and, arguably, have at least as big an impact on society as computer programmers?

Not a lot, as far as we can see. ®

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