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CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap

Even as we celebrate A Decade Apart, we’re still always thinking about the future of our industry—what will it look like in a year, two years, ten years? How will we do our jobs? And even more importantly, who will be doing those jobs? What are the barriers to entering our field, and how can we work to lower or eliminate them?

To help further that discussion, we’ll be presenting a special screening of CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap at many of our events throughout 2016. This accessible, even-handed documentary examines the varied reasons why more girls and people of color are not seeking opportunities in computer science, and explores the roles played by mindsets, stereotypes, startup culture, sexism, a lack of role models, and clogs in the educational pipeline.

CODE grew out of a specific moment in director/producer Robin Hauser Reynolds’ life:

Early one morning in the spring of 2013, my daughter called home from college announcing she intended to drop her computer science major. “I’m really bad at it,” she says. “I’m the worst in the class; I don’t fit in.” Her confidence was shaken by being one of just two women in a class of 25, and by not having the resources to support her. After taking 3 computer science classes, she drops the CS major. Turns out she was earning a B…

Professor Claude Steele says it takes about a generation to change a stereotype. As director of CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap, I hope to inspire our audience to begin that change. Change in the way our school system values computer science education; change in the way we think of a programmer; change in the way women and people of color view themselves in the tech field.

The core of the film is expert voices from the worlds of tech, psychology, science, and education. The filmmakers talk with coders at Yelp, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Pinterest, Strava, Pandora, GitHub, Pivotal, and Etsy (including AEA speaker Lara Hogan). Their insights are intercut with inspiring stories of women who are engaged in the fight to challenge complacency in the tech industry and have their voices heard. CODE aims to inspire change in mindsets, in the educational system, in startup culture, and in the way women see themselves in the field of coding.

More an initial survey than a final declaration, CODE hopes to inspire the audience to begin the changes that will one day narrow the gap. We’ve seen it, and recommend it to anyone who’s invested in the direction and future of our field. We’re proud to make it available to attendees of most of our 2016 shows, and look forward to the discussions it will inspire.