Nobel Peace Prize Winner Malala Yousafzai Tells Girls: Start Coding

October 14, 2014

10:30 am

Last Friday, in a historic move for the Nobel Committee, Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai was awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize – making her the youngest ever Nobel Laureate (in any field). And, now, just days after receiving her prize, the 17-year-old has made a public statement supporting Code.org and encouraging girls from around the world to take part in the organization’s Hour of Code and to start learning how to code.

“Every girl deserves a complete education…and every girl deserves to take part in creating the technology that will change our world and change who runs it,” says Yousafzai in the short video.

Despite the high demand for jobs in computer science and engineering, currently only 10 percent of schools across the United States even offer some kind of computer science class – far below what is needed to fill the major gaps in our working economy. Code.org’s Hour of Code campaign was created with the goal of spreading global awareness of the importance of having some coding ability. Backed by the likes of President Obama, Mark Zuckerberg, and Bill Gates, along with companies like Microsoft and Google, Code.org’s campaign is aimed at engaging both educators and students in coding, and to actually let them experience the joys and benefits of computer science.

Since its launch, the Hour of Code has reached nearly 45 million students in more than 200 countries. In its first week alone, the campaign reached 15 million students from across the globe and (even more fascinating) got more girls to try computer science than in the last 70 years altogether.

Due to Yousafzai’s background, having faced the suppression of both youths’ and women’s rights, her acknowledgement and support of a Code.org’s Hour of Code cannot be understated. In a field that remains largely dominated by men, her endorsement of the missions affirmed by the organization conveys her belief that computer science and engineering are indeed two of the main pathways to the future, and an essential field for disruption for women everywhere.

The challenge by Yousafzai also serves to support Code.org’s new Indiegogo campaign, which hopes to raise $5 million to provide 100 million students from around the world with one hour of computer science. With this funding, the organization hopes to prepare more than 10,000 teachers for this Hour of Code, as well as to provide them with the opportunity to add computer science to their school schedules. Donate to the campaign now!

H/T TechCrunch

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Ronald Barba was the previous managing editor of Tech.Co. His primary story interests include industry trends, consumer-facing apps/products, the startup lifestyle, business ethics, diversity in tech, and what-is-this-bullsh*t things. Aside from writing about startups and entrepreneurship, Ronald is interested in 'Doctor Who', Murakami, 'The Mindy Project', and fried chicken. He is currently based in New York because he mistakenly studied philosophy in college and is now a "writer". Tweet @RonaldPBarba.

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