Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin has devoted her life to the study of programming and the expansion of human knowledge. Growing up in Nigeria, Abisoye experienced firsthand how culture can condition women to believe there is no place for them in STEM. As an adult, she has worked to increase opportunities for young women to challenge opporession through knowledge and technology. Her organization, Girls Coding, is devoted to teaching disadvantaged girls how to program. Many of the young women it serves grow up believing that education is out of their reach but Girls Coding is changing this narrative and fostering a sense of belonging.
Over 400 girls have walked through the doors of Abisoye’s organization. Thanks to the program these girls can envision a future where they pursue careers in the sciences, law, and engineering. These young women are a realization of Abisoye’s dream: all citizens contributing solutions that can lay the foundation for the prosperity and development of Nigeria.
How can addressing issues around identity in STEM education begin to change how young women see themselves and their futures? Join the discussion on Vialogues.
Excerpts from the discussion:
@00:00 Anna Curry: I think a program like this could be empowering for these young women and open their minds to new possibilities. Learning to code teaches them that they are capable and interacting with women who have pursued careers in STEM would inspire them.
@01:08 Melanie Hering: It's easy for Americans to get siloed into thinking about coding for girls just within their own country context, but this video really highlights that this move is a trend across the world. It's just as important to open up opportunities in learning and technology to girls in "developing" countries as it is to girls in "developed" countries. We're all developing when it comes to gender disparities.
@02:13 Dallas Milanovich: It's great to hear this program inspires intergenerational learning, too. Kids can go to these classes, learn about computers, and then share that knowledge with their parents.