Jill Layton
February 01, 2015 8:37 am

Like most 11-year-olds, Ava Brodie is really good with computers. Unlike most 11-year-old girls, she’s not just really good with computers, she’s really good at coding —you know, the stuff that makes it possible to create computer software, apps and websites. No big deal, right? Wrong! It’s a huge deal, and she wants other girls to excel at coding, too. So, she’s doing everything in her power to make sure that happens —and we think that’s rad.

Brodie, who’s a sixth grader at Twin Falls Middle School in North Bend Washington, is working on creating a coding club exclusively for girls. Her school currently offers limited programming classes, but the girls don’t seem to be as interested in participating in coding as the boys do. Which is why Brodie has taken it upon herself to show them just how important the skill is.

Brodie talked to The Daily Dot, and explained why she thinks her male peers have a leg-up in the programming world. “Maybe it’s just because from their point of view, they have things they’re interested in like video games, and they can just see it better. Like, ‘I can actually make one of these.'”

Yet there is so much more to coding than just making video games, and Brodie wants to encourage girls to pursue their technological skills, so they can decide for themselves what type of programming interests them. Above all, she wants these girls to recognize that they can do everything that boys can do.

The club will consist of programming, creating games and learning computer languages like Python and Ruby. Kids already take foreign language classes in school, and since computers and technology are such a major part of school life (class activities and homework) and regular life (Instagram, Facebook and every other part of the Internet), it just makes sense to incorporate computer programming into the curriculum.

The Tech Superwomen Summit, which was held in San Francisco on Thursday, invited Brodie to attend as an honored guest, where she was able to interview female technologists, designers, founders and programmers about what their jobs entail. She wanted to be able to share all the information she learned with her classmates, to help them understand what it’s like to be a woman in the tech world.

Kimberly Bryant, founder of Black Girls Code, an organization that works tirelessly to encourage and empower young women from all backgrounds in computer science, explained to The Daily Dot why she believes girls and women have an interest in computer science, but aren’t sticking with it.

“We still don’t have enough girls interested in coding, and the the last data that they pulled show those numbers are still declining, although interest in computer science is increasing,” she said.
“But there needs to be more focus on this issue of the pipeline all along. The issue of K-12 education. The issue of girls who are not sticking with the Bachelor’s in computer science. Women who are in the tech field that [leave], as well as women that are starting their own companies and having an issue getting funding and support.”

Brodie is doing the exact same thing, but starting at a smaller scale: her school. She wants the club to be a space where girls feel confident and comfortable to learn about all the possibilities technology can bring.

“I think that it will be a lot better for a lot of the people who are intimidated just because it’s like, ‘Oh, when I’m with these people I can do it, but when I’m with these people I can’t'”, she told The Daily Dot. “But I guess I can just try harder and eventually not be intimidated by this because I can do everything [boys] want to do.'”

Brodie’s goal is that with all the knowledge she has gained from interviewing so many incredible women in the tech field, at least ten girls will sign up for the club. Because, after all, technology is the future, but more importantly, it’s the present.

“It’s so simple,” she said. “I want to get people to realize that almost everything is based on technology, even when you’re just doing your homework on the computer.”

Ava, you’re our hero.

Featured images via

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