It was an evening of girl power at Google’s Made w/ Code event last night in New York City. Hosted by one of our favorite funny ladies, Mindy Kaling (in Clover Canyon), the event kicked off Google’s initiative to encourage young girls to pursue a career in coding, a field where the presence of women is rapidly decreasing. "Just one percent of girls in high school express an interest to continue to do computer science," Kaling told InStyle.com. It's a pretty staggering statistic for a rapidly growing industry.
So why aren't young women interested in technology? Kaling surmised that coding's bad rep has something to do with it. "I don’t think that coding has been packaged in a way that necessarily would make girls interested in [it], especially if you’re traditionally girly the way that I was."
“When I look back to the things that I got interested in in junior high and high school it was because I felt that they were social," she said. "I was into things like Latin, which is even more boring than coding, but I loved it because the way it was billed in high school was that it was a cultural thing."
And that's where Google comes in: They're showing girls, through the project, that technology isn't just about creating software, but that that it's actually fun and interactive. "I think what is cool about [Made w/ Code] is that they’re making an attempt to make coding something that girls can bond with each other over, which is all I wanted as a teenager, so I think that’s going to hopefully make a huge impact,” Kaling said.
At last night's event, women mentors such as Danielle Feinberg, who heads up Pixar's lighting department, and Miral Kotb, who turned her love of code and dance into a career, spoke about their love of technology. Their stories along with Chelsea Clinton’s inspiring speech and Kaling's anecdotes lit up the crowd (plus, a performance by Icona Pop didn't hurt).
Afterwards, the crowd dispersed to play and create things with code. Our favorite station? The 3D-printing alcove where guests were able to create their own personalized bracelets. While we chatted with Kaling, she showed off the three she made (above). "They're quotes from my show!" she explained. "One says 'No More Stealing Cars,' which is the tattoo that Ike Barinholtz’s character, Morgan, has tattooed on his stomach, so I love that. The other says, 'Beyoncé Pad Thai,' which is the warrior name of my character, and then Mindy." Great choices, if we do say so ourselves.
To learn more about Made w/ Code head to madewithcode.com.