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Teenage Girls Gaming

ESA Announces $1 Million Initiative to Support Girls Interested in Technology

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) announced a multi-year initiative with Black Girls Code (BGC) today. The initiative will support educational and mentoring programs for girls and young women who are interested in technology. The BGC’s goal is to teach one million girls about programming and other skills by 2040. They launched in California and later expanded to 15 cities across the USA. They educate girls between ages 7-17 in underrepresented communities through workshops.  Since they launched in 2013, they have supported over 3,000 students  in educational programs.  

ESA’s foundation executive Anastasia Staten was interviewed by CNN  to provide more details on the initiative. She said that one of the reasons behind the partnership is to increase diversity in the tech industry. Women only account for 26% of the tech workforce. Only 3% are African-American women. Staten said that ESA plans to have workshops this summer to teach young girls basic graphic design in multiple cities such as New York, Dallas, Houston, San Francisco, and Washington D.C.  They also plan to have virtual workshops so that girls who live in a city or town that BGC is not in can still participate. ESA will staff the workshops with company members, which include Microsoft, Nintendo, and many others. 

Why does this matter?

This move will likely be praised as more diversity is needed in the tech industry. Providing young girls with more opportunities to learn how to code is no doubt a great move for the videogame industry. Also, it helps young girls to gain tech skills that will be useful in getting future employment. There is no doubt that the interest is there, they just do not have enough opportunities to learn and grow their skills. According to a report, 25% of Black households in the US lack a broadband connection. For White households that decrease to 13% and for Asian households it decreases further to only 7%.  ESA’s partnership with BLC seeks to address the issues this highlights while providing young girls with greater opportunities.      

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