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Blog, Women In Tech

Jocelyn Leavitt and Samantha John look like they could be anyone’s best friend. With easy smiles, casual wear, and incredibly interesting stories, they’re the tech startup founders we’ve all been waiting for. Jocelyn is a self-proclaimed lover of the outdoors, and Samantha is a marathon runner who also taught herself to program.

These two brilliant women teamed up to create Hopscotch, a new programming language so simple, even kids could use it. In fact, children were exactly the demographic that they had in mind when they founded the startup. Their mission is to teach kids to program from a very young age through interactive and fun ways. With a simple drag and drop system, they can make their own mini-games, drawings, animations, websites, and more. Through play, they intuitively learn the core fundamentals of programming that are¬†further developed later on. What’s best, this is the first programming language that is mobile-friendly, so kids can use it on their tablets and smartphones.

It’s difficult to underestimate the power of this startup. Not only is it making programming accessible to children, it is also bringing women into the forefront of the tech startup scene. With numerous awards and recognitions, they are breaking the mold of what successful entrepreneurs look like, and setting an example of professional women being awesome. Perhaps more importantly, however, they are also sending a message to children that programming isn’t a ‚Äúboys only‚ÄĚ club, and that women have a lot to offer in the tech industry.


Blog, Diversity & Inclusion
You know already that we have a serious shortage of women coders. Or if you don’t, you might check out Ciara Byrne’s three-year-old piece on the loneliness of women coders here. You know, too, that gender biases continue to devalue women’s salaries. Recall that whole 1990’s “women earn 72 cents to the dollar of a man” platitude? By 2015 women earned 79 percent of men’s earnings, and according to the group Women‚Äôs Policy Research, women won‚Äôt receive equal pay until 2059. You probably also know that New York’s Mayor Bloomberg warned we must learn to “program or be programmed“‚Äďthat was all the way back in 2012.

Here’s what you don’t know:

In Feb of this year, a researcher at Cal Poly teamed up with 4 more researchers at North Carolina State to conduct a study of gender bias in open source. And they found that in open source software communities “women’s contributions tend to be accepted more often than men’s.” This was as long as women’s gender remained unidentifiable.

As soon as women were known to be women, according to the study, they were rejected at higher rates than their male counterparts. (See study cited above for details.) You’re angry, right? Our point is that women are killer coders. But that’s not the end. Today coding really can make our lives better, and we want to show you why:

1. Employment opportunities are greater in number than ever before: “In 2015, Intel pledged $300 million to increasing¬†diversity¬†in its offices. Google pledged $150 million¬†and Apple is donating¬†$20 million, all to producing a tech workforce that includes more women and non-white workers” (TechInsider). In short, by 2016 everybody wants anybody who isn’t a white man.

2. Related to the above, getting hired is suddenly just like Tindering. Except it’s the opposite of Tindering, because Blendoor does merit-based matching. Adios, gender-bias in hiring practices.

3. Flexibility, flexibility, and flexibility:
More employment opportunities means you’ll be more marketable, and this means you will have greater flexibility in choosing how and where and for whom (yourself? another?) you will work.

4. Coding pays better than cleaning.
And lawyering, and doctoring, and a lot of other things, too. Which means, if we are to believe those people who call coding “fun,” coding allows you to DWYL while continuing to spend too much on heels, or horses, or whatever your compulsion may be.Save