This Co-Ed Coding Class For Teens In Ghana Is Breaking Down Gender Stereotypes

Regina Agyare didn’t initially include boys in her computer coding class. But after one male student expressed his discontent at seeing “girls being empowered,” she spotted an opportunity.

Agyare — the brainpower behind Tech Needs Girls, an initiative launched by her software development company, Soronko Solutions — runs a weekly class teaching tech skills to students above a mosque in Accra, Ghana. In a slum area of the city where many girls marry young and are denied an education, the class provides an opportunity for them to better their academic and economic outlooks, CNN reported.

“When the parents are praying [downstairs], we are teaching the girls upstairs,” Agyare explained to the outlet.

Although the class of about 50 is predominantly female, a few boys have trickled in to benefit from the instruction, she said. And the inclusion prompted young people — like boys who believed a girl is “to be their wife” and “needs to be taken care of” — to rethink gender roles that have kept girls from pursuing tech-related futures.

We introduce the girls to mentors who are females in STEM and these mentors teach the girls to code #thisisafrica

— Regina Agyare (@ragyare) September 24, 2014

Similar ideas on gender roles may be in part to blame for a lack of American women working in computer-related fields, too. A study released last month by the American Association of University Women suggests the U.S. may actually be headed in the wrong direction when it comes to gender equality in tech: In 2013, women held only 26 percent of computing jobs — a significant drop from 35 percent in 1990.

It’s a problem President Obama is taking seriously. His administration has <a target="_blank" href="" —> Read More