The number of programs geared just for women or girls seems to be increasing rapidly. Almost every day, it seems, I read about a camp or a class just for the female gender. I have nothing against these programs. I teach in an all girls’ school. I think there’s value in single sex education. But I wonder if they are working. Will we see a huge influx of women in tech or programming jobs in 10 years? I’m honestly not sure.
I’m sort of inclined to think that these programs are separated from education in a way that may not be useful in the long term. There’s no continuity in these programs. They’re often one off attempts to teach technology x. After that, the student is on her own to figure out what to do next. Maybe it will inspire them to take a college course or advocate for CS to be taught in their high school or to enroll in the one class that exists but is always all boys. If so, that’s a good thing. I don’t know how some of these programs are measuring success, and if anyone is studying them in a sustained way.
I can’t help but think, also, that these programs may take away some of the incentive for schools to offer courses themselves or to recruit more girls to existing programs. I just feel a lack of connection between these programs and what I and many CS teachers are trying to do.