News·5 min read

Daily Skimm Weekend: Girls Who Code and Oscars

Dr. Tarika Barrett and Girls Who Code
March 11, 2023

theSkimm with Dr. Tarika Barrett

Women’s History Month is here. To celebrate all month long, we’ll be highlighting some of the different orgs and people making waves for women’s representation. 

Next up, Dr. Tarika Barrett, CEO of Girls Who Code. Since 2012, the nonprofit has provided over 500,000 girls, young women, and nonbinary students with opportunities to explore coding and build professional skills — all in an effort to close the gender gap in the tech industry. Because, while women make up about 47% of the US workforce, they hold just over a quarter of positions in the STEM field. Conditions are even worse for women of color. Here’s what she had to say…

Q: Why are we still seeing a gender gap in the tech industry?

At Girls Who Code, we always say that ‘you can’t be what you can’t see.’ Our girls grow up seeing all of these men in tech — Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Neil Armstrong, Albert Einstein, and Steve Jobs. But they don’t see women pioneers who’ve been incredible in the field like Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, Grace Hopper, Ada Lovelace, or Jean Bartick. We’re still dealing with this archetype of a coder or a tech person as a boy in a hoodie alone in the basement or a man in Silicon Valley running a company. Before girls are even 10 years old, they’ve internalized these cultural touchstones about what a computer scientist looks like and does. And these internalized beliefs resonate with them their entire lives.

Q: How has the gender gap changed over time?

In 1995, women made up almost 40% of computing jobs … and today, women make up less than 26%. So unfortunately, this is not one of those cases of slow and steady progress or the long mark of justice ... [We] recently found that 50% of women end up leaving the tech industry by the age of 35 because they found their workplaces to be inhospitable … We have to keep a laser-like focus on expanding and extending this pipeline of women who are learning computer science. But we also have to hold the sector and these companies accountable and make sure that they are actually tapping into this incredible body of talent that we have.

Q: Why do we need more women involved in tech?

Tech intersects our lives at every possible touchstone — be it safety and security, voting rights, healthcare — and we’re far past the point where we can opt out ... But right now, tech does not reflect the diversity of our communities. Having more female and nonbinary voices, young people of color, will only make our tech better and more reflective of our interests and needs.

PS: Girls Who Code is hosting a CodeFair later this month. To learn more, click here.

Psst, this interview has been edited for length and clarity.

What's Happening

📺 In entertainment…

After a dramatic campaign season, the Academy has rolled out the champagne (no, not red) carpet for tomorrow’s Oscars. Host Jimmy Kimmel says he’s ready for anything. Speaking of things that are almost here, the final season of “Ted Lasso” kicks off Wednesday, and will be followed by the last season of “Barry” and “the Blume-aissance.” Plus, while every song seems to be getting a sped-up, Chipmunkian remix, Spotify is getting a fresh new look — which no surprise, looks kinda like TikTok.

🐸 In the animal kingdom…

Already have a birdhouse? Then you might want to consider making the leap to a frog pond … and a butterfly garden. Particularly, if you live in one of the dozen states that doesn’t consider them to be wildlife — meaning, little is being done to protect them. While bees are teaching their babies how to dance, research suggests that men are less predictable than women, at least in the case of mice. Plus, as some animals are being set up on blind dates, others are flying private.

😀 In adulting...

Turns out, people have no chill when it comes to specialty ice. And just like those of you raised on SunnyD, the beloved beverage is all grown up. Also, “revenge reporting” on dating apps is on the rise — giving the kids even more reason to swipe left overall on online dating. In other trending news, people are ditching pants. And working as their own assistants.  

Weekend Escape

*Slams laptop shut until Monday.* We know the feeling. And we’ve got some tips for escape.

Grab your popcorn. While the 95th Academy Awards are just a day away (mark your calendar for 8 pm ET), there's still plenty of time to catch up on all the performances. Not sure where to start? Try the films featuring all the Best Actress nominees — and immerse yourself in these soulful, complicated, and brave characters. 

  • Tár.” Cate Blanchett stars as Lydia Tár, one of the most accomplished orchestra conductors of her (fictional) time. That is, until sexual assault allegations send her reputation spiraling.

  • Blonde.” In this biopic, Ana de Armas takes on the role of Marilyn Monroe — peeling back the layers of Monroe’s troubled past and revealing how fame impacted both her private and public life. 

  • The Fabelmans.” Based on Steven Spielberg’s childhood, this semi-autobiographical film puts a spotlight on the man typically behind the camera, with Michelle Williams in a role inspired by Spielberg’s mother

  • To Leslie.” If the name of this film rings a bell, it’s likely because of the stir Andrea Riseborough’s nomination caused in Hollywood. The indie film focuses on a single, troubled woman trying to rebuild her life. 

  • Everything Everywhere All at Once.” Already an award show favorite, the sci-fi dramedy takes the audience on a journey of self-discovery. It follows an overworked Chinese American immigrant (Michelle Yeoh), who’s forced to save the multiverse.

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