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Loudoun’s Own Hidden Figures

Simply put, girls are awesome.

Girls who learn to program today are positioning themselves ahead of the curve closing the significant gender gap, specifically in the STEM workforce. Considering programming is one of the fastest growing industries of today, girls who harness these computational skills will improve their opportunities and their ability to earn higher premium in comparison to other career paths. We must thank our historical women who took great strides in moments of record. In the 1940’s, coding was a fundamental aspect of the World War II, fulfilled by the great females, truly making them the first coders who paved the way for the industries of today. A more recent recognition of female leadership and innovation is the movie ‘Hidden Figures’ released in 2016, based around African-American mathematicians who played integral roles in NASA during the Space Race.

“Don’t rule yourself out...Think about what you want to achieve and go for it, yes it’s a male-dominated industry, but don’t let that put you off. It only takes one special person to make a change to the culture.” 

Togobo’s advice to any woman wanting to pursue a career in STEM.

However, even with this historic knowledge, there are still common uncertainties that prevents girls from getting involved in coding or other STEM based activities. As younger generations grow up in a technology-driven world, these ideologies are, must and will continue to be challenged much more. These thoughts are the result of social conditionings that we have all grown up surrounded by; the girls of the future deserve to grow up with just opportunities regardless of gender. A 2015 Catalyst research study shows Canadian women with bachelor’s degrees in STEM positions earned only 82.1% of the earnings of male coworkers holding the same jobs, let alone the developing nations. Despite these preconceived notions, girls can be well prepared and are actually natural born coders due in large part to their inherent skills. If you are one who questions whether they would be the right candidate for the opportunity, where the skills match equal to a male candidate, be that change to choose a woman to support gender justice. And here are just a few points that prove why they would make the best choice

for the programming opportunity: 


Although many social norms project male dominance, there are many truths and supportive data that women are superior in their ability to communicate. In coding, this innate skill is unparalleled; the basis of coding requires clear and concise translation between humans and computers in order to produce the desired result. When things go wrong, coders also must be able to decipher and pinpoint the exact place of error (also known as debugging) and break down the coding in order to remedy it. 

Adaptability and Multitasking

Women have naturally adapted with the constantly changing environments. This allows them to work well both independently and in team settings, which is ideal in the coding industry in order to juggle available resources, time constraints, budget allocations, and the overall environment. Their resilience and ability to face and conquer challenges head on makes women well suited and equipped for the world of coding and STEM. 

Problem Solving

Scientifically, females have a greater ability to problem solve. A 2001 research conducted by Harvard found females and males have notable differentiating parts of the brain; the frontal lobe, responsible for decision making and problem solving, and the limbic cortex responsible for emotion regulation, are both larger in females than males. This means that these larger areas allows them to instinctually plan ahead and produce several solutions for each problem they are faced with, a significantly favoured trait when it comes to coding. 

Ability and Worth

Whether it be in the workforce, in sports, or in everyday life, women continually have to fight to prove themselves and close the gender gap. This is heightened in coding and STEM jobs as we can understand it is a male dominated industry where there will be biases placed on them with each project they tackle. Although the challenges for females are apparent and ongoing, the drive to demonstrate themselves not only as individuals but as a gender at large turns into dedication and determination with each action they take. Women in coding are not only working to hold their own and survive, but to thrive and rise above the prejudice. 

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