Official Girls in ICT Day: We chat with Fran del Pozo, from Code.ORG

Today, April 22, 22, the official international day of girls in ICT is celebrated, an important day if we take into account the significant gender gap that occurs in the digital transition and programming, that is why we want to tell you what Code consists of. ORG and how its activity helps thousands of girls from around the world in any part of the home to learn more about new technologies and especially programming. We chatted with Fran del Pozo, head of Code.ORG in Spain.

At Actualidad Gadget, always faithful to our editorial ethics, we proceed with the full transcripts of the interviews we carry out.

In what? When did Code.ORG decide to take part in the digital divide between young people and be part of this transition? 

Code.org was born in 2013 in the United States with the mission that every child in every school in the world has the opportunity to learn to code. 

A proven success model. More than 40% of North American students have an account on Code.org, as well as + 2MM of teachers and 55MM of students around the world (half of them, women). 

The project is driven by global, political, social and economic leaders, such as Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Satya Nadella, Eric Schmidt, Tim Cook, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Richard Branson, BONO, or the deans of the Universities of Stanford, Harvard or the MIT MediaLab among many others ... and funded by some of the largest companies in the world, such as Google, Microsoft, Amazon, General Motors and Disney.

How does Code.ORG work to help younger girls learn programming? 

Together with Khan Academy, we are the largest training platform in the world in terms of number of users. We have free content translated into more than 60 languages ​​for students from 4 to 18 years old. In addition, we constantly campaign to promote youth access to programming.

Our great differentiation is that we are a platform that is completely open and free from anywhere in the world. The contents are aimed at training boys and girls from an early age, (40% of American students in this age group are users of Code.org) with different courses depending on the age of learning. On the other hand, it is also aimed at teachers, as the main provider of training and a tool to develop their educational programs. In short, at Code.org we promote an inclusive and fair model, for all, with the aim of eliminating the information, gender and competition gap that may exist.

What? relevance can programming have in your work and personal future? 

In one way or another, all jobs will be related to technology and computing. However, most of the population is unaware of what programming is and the importance it is going to have in the future of their children. In fact, teaching computer science is vital for the future of young people and for Spanish competitiveness.

It is key to align training with employment as the world's most innovative economies are doing.

What do you think is the reason why the number of women who study and dedicate themselves to computer science and technology has decreased in an increasingly digitized world? 

I think there is a stereotype problem that is absolutely necessary to tear down around the difficulty of technical careers and the lack of capacity of women. Culturally it was understood that the most difficult careers, which required more dedication and effort, were not designed for women and therefore, even families recommended their daughters to focus on the social branches of science, such as medicine. The media play a fundamental role in eliminating the gender gap. It is more than demonstrated that men and women are equally capable and it is necessary to incorporate women into science and technology, not for a matter of justice or equity but for efficiency and competitiveness.

How does Code.ORG fund all of its free projects? 

From our donors, which are mainly the big global tech companies, as well as big North American philanthropists. Little by little we are looking for new sources of funding and donors from different parts of the world because we are a truly global project.  

How does technological bilingualism affect the digital divide and what is the way in which Code.ORG intends to combat it? 

It absolutely affects because not aligning training with employment will produce a deficit of professionals, which will be increasingly difficult to cover. It affects in terms of employment, well-being, competitiveness and productivity. We're late with English and we can't afford the same thing to happen to us with programming (and computational thinking).

Do you think today's youth have problems with creativity, critical thinking, and problem solving? 

I have no data to answer that question. But if I can say that when programming we develop computational thinking and this favors the development of another series of skills such as logic, critical thinking or problem solving. We do not know what the jobs of the future will be, but we do know what skills they will require and are, among others, these.

Returning to the International Day of the Girls, does Code.ORG plan to carry out activities or campaigns focused on this celebration in particular? 

Not specifically since we constantly campaign, since it is part of our DNA to add girls.

What do you think the penetration of Code.ORG in countries in development pathways can be? 

Africa for example is a continent with special peculiarities. In developing countries we work hand in hand with international organizations that operate in the field, they are, together with local governments, the best allies in these geographies.

We thank the Code.ORG team and especially Fran del Pozo for their attention and for having answered all these questions without objection. We hope to be able to contribute our grain of sand to the expansion of programming among the youngest, and especially breaking gender barriers in a sector that shouldn't have them.


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