09/04/12 | Uncategorized

Linda Liukas: What Every Girl Needs To Know About Programming

Girls need more inclusion and more role models. How many female Mark Zuckerbergs can you think of?
By Martha Kelly Girdler (Alumnus, Hacker School)

Right now (in technology) girls are rewarded when they fit in with the boys, but what about the girls that don’t and just want to be themselves? The outlets for them are few and far between.

There are many girls and women frustrated by their experiences in programming, but men are not equally as frustrated. There are few girls and women pursing technology, but there is an abundance of white males.

This means it’s not the same situation.

There’s no reason at all that girls (and boys for that matter!) who like shoes, nail polish, and miu miu handbags can’t build amazing products that get just as much recognition.

What can we do to help?

Girls need more inclusion and more role models (how many female Mark Zuckerbergs can you think of?). Support organizations that make building and learning about technology fun (for example, Rails Girls). This should go without saying, but you should end any RTFM shaming, sexual/objectifying images, and demeaning jokes in the tech communities and workplaces you’re a part of.

“If I should ever have a daughter or a son I would like them to see the world of technology through this lens of magical culture.” – Linda Liukas, What Every Girl Needs to Know About Programming

Please check out Rails Girls, and Linda – thank you.


  • The low number of girls and women in programming is a systematic problem, something fundamental is missing.
  • Teenage girls have a massive amount of crazy and creative energy, they should learn to code
  • Coding is not lonely and it’s not mathematical.
  • We are so stuck in semantics and exclusion that we can’t function as a community, it’s no longer fun and enjoyable.
  • It’s up to us to create a new culture of development – one that is fun and focuses on creating and building.

This post was originally posted at Martha Kelly’s blog.

About the guest blogger: Martha Kelly Girdler recently graduated from Hacker School, a three month “writers retreat for hackers” at the Etsy offices in Brooklyn. She is a Web Developer specializing in Front End architecture and performance. She writes JavaScript, Python, HTML/CSS/LESS/Sass. Martha blogs about programming culture, issues of gender/diversity, and code she’s been hacking on at marthakelly.github.com. Follow her on Twitter at @marthakelly.



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