Can Obama get more women to code?

December 9, 2013

We're more conscious than ever about the tech industry's hyper-masculine culture. With the rise of the brogrammer, women are gradually accounting for a shrinking share of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) jobs in the country. There are now fewer women as a proportion of that workforce than at any time since 1990.

That makes a new, minute-long address by President Obama directly to the nation's students all the more uplifting. Speaking ahead of a week-long event to highlight computer-science education, Obama urged kids to try their hand at coding — and made a point of calling on female students.

"This week is your chance to give it a shot. Don't let anyone tell you you can't," Obama says in the video. "Whether you're a young man — or a young woman — whether you live in a city or a rural area, computers are going to be a big part of your future."

While it's not exactly the targeted appeal to ladies that many might be hoping for, guiding girls toward a STEM education and encouraging them to stick with it is helpful no matter who's in front of the camera.

Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post, focusing on telecom, broadband and digital politics. Before joining the Post, he was the technology correspondent for National Journal and an associate editor at the Atlantic.
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Brian Fung · December 9, 2013