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Ankita Mitra

Exposure and encouragement are key to attracting girls to CS: author Ankita Mitra doing her part.

It was time to begin teaching my class. The children were in their seats, laptops turned on, ready to begin. I scanned the doorway, hoping for one more girl to arrive: there were nine boys in my class and just two girls. I was conducting free coding classes, but young girls were still reluctant to attend. As a 15-year-old computer enthusiast, I was baffled by this lack of interest.

A young boy arrived with his mother. As the mother was preparing to leave, I asked her, "If you have the time, why don't you stay? Maybe you could help your son." She agreed. I started my class without further delay. In the next class, the boy's mother brought along a friend and her daughter. Subsequent classes saw the registration of a few more girls, friends of friends. My message was getting across: computer science (CS) is not as difficult as presumed—it is fun, and more importantly, it is certainly not an exclusively male-oriented domain.


 

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