In case you haven't heard, there's a shortage of women in the tech industry. This has nothing to do with women's capabilities, but more to do with the sexism in the industry that limits them from breaking into the field.
So, to highlight exactly what this kind of sexism sounds like, nonprofit organization Girls Who Code released a YouTube video entitled "Why Can't Girls Code." In it, teenage girls recite sexist myths in a deadpan voice. When said aloud, each reason for girls not being able to code sounds more absurd than the last.
One girl says she can't go into coding because her "cleavage is just so distracting" at the computer. Another says that her "boobs really prevent" her from coding. A few girls blame their menstrual cycles for not being able to work with computers.
"There are already a ton of inspirational videos about why girls should code," Reshma Saujani, founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, said in a press release. "We wanted to try something different and use humor and satire to question the stereotypes that tell our girls that coding is not for them."
Margot Richaud, a Girls Who Code alumna, said in the press release, "As a high school senior, I've had classmates and teachers tell me that coding is not for me, or that I'd be better off focusing on design and making something look 'pretty.' We need to change that and stop telling girls that coding is not for us. There is never be an excuse for a girl to not code."
Closing the gender gap in STEM begins in the classroom. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, women comprise 39 percent of chemists and material scientists, 28 percent of environmental scientists and geoscientists, and 16 percent of chemical engineers. The good news is that more girls are considering a career in computer science. A 2015 poll found that computer science was the most popular major for women at Stanford.
"There's been a lot of work done about the gender gap in STEM, but it's been more emotional and kind of encouraging girls, that if you like science you should get involved," Susan Young, the video's creative director, told Adweek. "This campaign is a little bit more about provoking a response and reaffirming what girls already know and that is that this is really ridiculous that people think that just because you're a girl you can't do something."
And it seems that the "Why Can't Girls Code" video campaign is growing in popularity.
"The reaction has been amazing," Deborah Singer, vice president of marketing at Girls Who Code, wrote to A Plus. "The videos have received more than one million views in under 48 hours and have inspired hundreds of girls to share their experiences being told they 'cant' do things like coding. We think humor is an effective way to spark conversation about unspoken stereotypes and to start to shift culture!"