Apple: Opening Up Girls to Coding
Apple: Opening Up Girls to Coding
On June 8, Apple held its next World Wide Developers Conference in San Francisco (WWDC). Topics discussed at the conference were iOS 9, OS X El Capitan, watch OS 2 and Apple Music. There were also 350 scholarships given out to students 13 years or older to attend the event free of charge.
Among the chosen students were: college student Lea Marolt Sonnenschein, who designed the app Presevent, which alerts you about upcoming presidential candidates’ speeches and events in your area; college student Beatriz Melo Mousinho Magalhães, who developed an app called Operation Brain that offers a fun way to test your math skills featuring Brian the brain; middle schoolers Isabella Mandich and Sofia Mandich, who developed Wild Ski, a game where a cast of animals leave their savannah and travel through the slopes; and middle schooler Kiera Cawley, who developed two apps, one one called Knightly, a chess game where you have to reach a monster through your chess pieces, and the other called Healthy Food Compass, which uses your location to find stores or restaurants with healthy food on the go.
At the orientation session the scholarship winners were surprised with a visit from Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple. He was seen talking with the scholarship winners about their apps and took selfies and pictures with the winners.
As seen, Cook is staunch supporter in diversity and believes that diversifying the Apple Company will allow it to strive. He told Mashable, "I think the most diverse group will produce the best product, I firmly believe that. Even without taking its values into account, Apple is a ‘better company’ by being more diverse.”
Though the transition to diversity is occurring slowly. Currently, the company is 70% male, but he feels a credible way to close up in the gap in the computer field between men and women is to present girls with female role models in the industry.
One role model who appeared at the conference was entrepreneur Debbie Sterling. She showed a presentation that outlined her life starting from when she was a young girl pursuing mechanical engineering, to her obsession in disrupting the cultural programming of the "pink aisle" for girls among kids toys. While boys are often encouraged to design and build things, girls are given toys that focus on personal appearance and glamor.
But presently, Cook is opening up diversity by visiting middle school, high school and college women. His company is spending time with predominantly black colleges as well, considering only 7% of the company is African American.
The reason we have a lack of women pursuing careers in the STEM field is that they are discouraged by the negative social stigma. Dawley offers girls who wish to enter the field some wise advice: “One thing I would say to a girl who is just starting is just don’t give up because it’s dominated by men because in the future it will hopefully be more women in coding.”
Randhika Aturaliya has spent all her life in Maryland and is a sophomore at Dulaney High School. She is fond of writing as she writes for her school newspaper and writes poetry and fiction in her free time. Among other things, she enjoys competing in speech competitions and loves being the only marching bass clarinetist in her school's marching band. Her hobbies consist of eating chocolate, drinking copious amounts of tea and reading female-led Marvel comics because those are her favorite. She is passionate about feminism and human rights and is excited to embrace her passions while working with HerCulture.