In a set of short video interviews (below) published by Code for Cape Town (Code4CT), three high school girls in the city discuss why they code.
Their reasons are diverse: introspective Azraa reflects on coding as a creative practice; Charney says she finds coding fulfilling because it can be used to generate social change; while Tracy marvels at the simplicity and practicality of coding as a tool.
Emma Dicks, founder and director at Code4CT, says one of the reasons the organisation made the videos is to help boost and broaden the representation of women in ICT. "If we document the stories of our girls in their uniqueness, we're already changing the face of technology," she says, adding that the organisation plans to continue making more videos like these.
Dicks observes that limited media representation of what coding is and who can do it can prevent people from realising coding's value and availability to them.She reports that while the learners in Code4CT's programme quickly grow to love coding and appreciate its importance to them, the organisation often struggles with convincing potential participants to try it.
Many young women have been led to think that coding is "something that's not achievable for them personally, and they're not capable of it," explains Dicks.
Code for Cape Town runs coding and design thinking programmes for girls in Grades 10, 11, and 12, and aims to help young women realise their potential to code, as well as the wide array of potential applications for coding – especially social change.
Dicks puts forward that ICTs are not pitched as tools for social innovation as much as they could be, observing that young people who want to help others tend to gravitate more quickly to more traditional career fields, such as medicine and teaching.
By teaching young women to Code, Code4CT hopes to equip them with the ability to execute some of the ideas they come up with to benefit their societies.
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