According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015 American Community Survey, only 25.8 percent of employees in computer and mathematical occupations in Texas were women.
The Texas Workforce Commission is trying to change that by awarding school districts with scholarships to create summer camps that offer computer science projects that will increase girls’ interest in robotics, video games, websites , applications and computer coding.
Brownsville Independent School District was among the districts awarded with scholarships.
The district was awarded 120 scholarships for the Girls Can Code Camp, a summer program in partnership with University of Texas Rio Grande Valley to provide students with an introduction to coding and programing.
Tomas Sierra, one of the program’s teachers, does not know why women are typically not in the computer science field.
“We’re not sure if it’s gender roles or if it’s culture but there’s definitely something that’s steering girls away from this area,” Sierra told News Center 23’s Marlane Rodriguez
Girls Can Code Camp offers hands-on computer coding experience for students.
“There’s a huge deficit, especially when you compare them to their male counterparts,” he said.
Suheidy Barrera is among the girls trying to break the glass ceiling.
“This program is really good because it gets us girls to step up to the plate and try to be in this career path that mainly boys are in,” she said, adding that she wants to be a doctor when she grows up.
For some, like Ashley Nunez, women in the computer science field was unheard of.
“I’ve never heard of girls [computer coding] so I told my teacher that I would do it,” Nunez said. “I’m proud to be a girl and I think girls should be inspired and do this because girls can do anything boys can do.”
The young women are learning computer programing that is used by major players in the industry including Dropbox and Instagram.
Another Rio Grande Valley was awarded scholarships.
Pharr San Juan Alamo Independent School District was awarded 200 scholarships for the JavaGirlz – Just Code camp that introduces students to computer programming robotics.