“Coding is becoming an essential skill, just like reading, writing and math. I love how this site starts to open up countless opportunities for girls through the girls’ own passions.” —juror Ginny Golden
“I have two young daughters, so this idea got me. I love the statement that it makes and found the coding tools intuitive and fun to use.” —juror Winston Binch
Overview: To address the dearth of women in tech, Google and Red & Co. wanted to inspire girls to become adept coders. The strategy was to show girls that code is something that they already care about. Made with Code is a mobile-first platform that shows girls all kinds of things they love that are made with code. A curriculum of thirteen fun coding apps—and counting—educates users, and a brand film and twelve documentaries about women and girls who code introduce role models and inspiration.
• Users learn key programming foundations using Blockly to complete a project, such as an animated GIF or a 3-D rendering of a bracelet.
• Made with Code has been praised by celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher and Chelsea Clinton.
• The project has been featured in Forbes, Newsweek, Wired, Time and Fortune as well as on television on NBC, CBS, BBC, Al Jazeera and Ellen.
Comments by creative director Mira Kaddoura:
What are the project’s core features? “We worked with a team of Google computer science education experts to develop a project-based curriculum to build coding skills, from defining an X-Y axis to animating characters. But we also had to inspire girls to keep at it by building a community around them, so we provided mini-documentaries about real women and girls doing amazing stuff with code. The final piece was to rally the support of the women in coding to encourage the girls’ interest. Ongoing projects, social media, tools, support for parents and teachers, and a national coding events calendar keep the project active.”
What was the most challenging aspect of the project? “We are asked to solve problems for clients all the time. But when the problem is a national, cultural and gendered issue for which no one has yet found a solution, it’s another order of magnitude. First, we had to do a lot of listening and synthesizing to find out why girls weren’t coding, what barriers were keeping them from trying, which obstacles would be best to address, whom we would recruit to the cause and how to best engage our audience. Only when we had really crunched all the societal, academic and user data could we start thinking about how to build a campaign around girls and coding that would actually work.”
Was the audience you were targeting a particularly difficult one to reach? “Teenage girls were our target, and yeah, they’re busy. And it’s safe to say most of them have a preconceived notion that coding is less interesting than pretty much anything else. We needed to give them the evidence and experience that would help them redefine what’s interesting, what’s fun and, most of all, what’s possible.”