One of the benefits of working on projects that focus on gender and computing is that people send me articles about the topic. The most recent article I got was entitled Karlie Kloss Announces #KodeWithKarlie Scholarship So Teen Girls Can Learn to Code. Karlie Kloss, for those who aren’t avid readers of trashy fashion/celebrity magazines like I am, is a model well known for walking the Victoria’s Secret runway (among many, many others) and being friends with Taylor Swift. What I didn’t know about her is that she took a programming class last summer and became so enamored of it that she’s now trying to encourage girls to take it. As the article quotes her saying:
Code is only going to continue to play a major role in defining our future. I think it’s crucial that young women learn to code as early as possible to ensure that we, as young women, have a voice and a stake in what the world looks like.
Yes, there are some problems with this characterization of computing. First, of course, it’s more than coding. Problem solving and computational thinking as a whole are given short shrift in any description that reads like this. That overly narrows the field, and probably doesn’t do us any favors in the end.
Still, I can’t help but be happy about this. A woman known for wearing clothes and being the BFF of a pop star is embracing something that I care about, and let’s face it, making that activity cooler with girls who might not otherwise think of it as being something for them. Well done, Ms. Kloss. I hope you make a difference.