Blend Supports Girls Who Code

Only a tiny fraction of women choose to major in computer science when they start college. Blend was featured in an article about what the Sioux Falls public schools are doing to buck that trend.

  • Mar. 03 2016

The numbers gap between male and female computer science majors — and women in general across tech industries — is one of the largest growing concerns among a growing internet society. Sioux Falls public schools are looking to buck the trend by employing the Girls Who Code nonprofit program.

Both Blend CEO Karla Santi and developer Stephanie Uher were interviewed for Argus Leader’s recent article on Girls Who Code. From the article, “Girls key to cracking the computer workforce code”:

Uher relishes her work as a developer at Blend because she feels like part of the team. But before she graduated from Dakota State, Uher had moments where she felt like she didn’t belong.

In some of her classes, she was the only woman. Male classmates had already taken apart computers in high school, while Uher was busy focusing on athletics.

“I kind of felt behind,” Uher said. “Having more of these classes at the high school level would be helpful.”

Uher is not alone. Women who enter degree programs in computer-based fields are in the minority. They go through college surrounded by men and overcome a lack of role models and persistent gender stereotypes.

According to Girls Who Code, fewer than one in five computer science graduates are women. Fewer than one in 200 girls who graduate from high school show interest in seeking a degree in computer science.

Things were different when Santi got her first job in the tech industry. Website building was less technical, and Santi knew she could harness her design background, she said.

“I don’t know that the disparity in gender was so obvious,” Santi said. “Web development was so new, and back then, it was a very creative outlet as well.”