OP-ED: Library’s Girls Who Code Program Addresses Important Need

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Eight months ago my wife and I welcomed our daughter, Harriet, to the world. She has filled our suddenly sleepless lives with so much joy—and with some anxiety too. Like most parents, my wife and I worry about whether we can give our daughter all the tools she’ll need to lead a fulfilling life.

Whether Harriet becomes a car mechanic, a small business owner, or a college professor, she is going to need a basic literacy in computer programming. Fluency in computer languages like HTML and CSS will soon be the low bar for employment in many industries. But there’s a gender gap in coding and technology that we should all find unsettling. Studies reveal that a majority of girls express strong interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) in middle school. By the time they graduate high school, though, only a small fraction say they want to major in a STEM field.

Overt and implicit pressures discourage our daughters from pursuing their interests and gaining the skills they’ll need to excel in the economy of the future.
If this is the kind of thing that keeps you up at night, consider enrolling your daughter in the Watertown Free Public Library’s “Girls Who Code” camp. This free course begins on October 5 and meets for two hours each Thursday evening.
Girls Who Code is a nonprofit organization dedicated to closing the gender gap in tech. They offer curricula like the one the WFPL will follow to help girls in grades 6-12 develop important computer skills. In addition, the library will take participants on field trips and host guest speakers.

No single program can solve the problems of gender disparity, of course, but I believe that public institutions should inspire us to build a better future together. What better way to do that than by empowering our daughters?

I am consistently impressed by the resources the WFPL offers our whole community, from “Girls Who Code” to the HATCH makerspace. If I’m elected to the board of trustees on November 7, I plan to help strengthen these initiatives and ensure that the library continues to meet the needs of our diverse and growing community.


Daniel Pritchard
Watertown Resident, Candidate for Library Trustee

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