• Women 2.0 HowTo Conference San Francisco, September 30 - October 1, 2014

Who Needs a Y Chromosome? New Documentary Encourages Girls to Get Into Tech

A new short documentary fighting back against the decline in the number of young women considering studying computer science premieres tonight at Stanford. 

By Ayna Agarwal &  Ellora Israni (Co-Directors, she++ Women in Technology Conference)

Between 2000 and 2009, there was a 79% drop in the number of first-year undergraduate women considering computer science, even as the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Angry Birds were making technology ‘cool’ again. And so, we have been told, time and time again, we need more women in technology. But we’re not entirely convinced by the op-eds and panel discussions. The greatest technology companies of our time — Apple, Google, Facebook — have been successfully founded and run by men. And they seem to be doing a pretty good job.

Our new short documentary she++: The Documentary fights back against this thinking, following smart, creative, and trailblazing technologists hard at work in hi-tech and collecting research and inspirational pieces on Silicon Valley’s unsung heroes to galvanize us to explore our potential as ‘femgineers.’ she++ encourages the future CEOs, innovative engineers, sisters, cousins, and daughters, to break away from stereotype and into a revolutionary field. As technology is becoming increasingly ubiquitous, all demographics must harness new ideas to transform technology and empower themselves. Think of what more ‘femgineers’ could do.

Stories from high school girls, recently graduated female computer scientists now working in the  industry, female technology CEOs, Stanford academics, and Silicon Valley venture capitalists build momentum as the Documentary accumulates facts and statistics, and most encouragingly, personal stories. The film aims to inspire girls, young and old, to ignore their lack of a Y chromosome and make girls’ unique vision useful in the world of code.

Tonight, April 3, 2013, she++ is premiering the release of it’s documentary at Stanford University, Cubberly Auditorium at 6:30 pm. Dinner will be served — all are welcome! — and the discussion panel to follow will include Women 2.0’s own, Shaherose Chaharnia. This is the beginning of efforts to disseminate the piece to schools, organizations, and companies worldwide. If you are interested in hosting a screening, please visit our website for more details.

she++ is also launching it’s e-mentorship program that creates opportunities for high school students and potential technologists to connect with role models enrolled in college CS programs for one-on-one informational interviews. This resource encourages girls to explore computer science, demystifies the computer science major and bridges connections between young leaders and students. Learn more here.

And finally, she++ is pleased to announce its two keynote speakers for its annual conference on April 20,: Marc Andreeseen, partner a16z, and Mike Schropfer, CTO Facebook. Registration information can be found here.

About the guest bloggers: Ayna Agarwal is a junior at Stanford University studying Symbolic Systems. This past spring, Ayna launched she++ with her best friend to inspire girls to take their first computer science class. At the age of 15, Ayna founded an international non-profit to help curb the spread of infectious diseases through sterilizing stray animals. Ayna is working on her third venture now and looking forward to interning at Microsoft this summer.

Ellora is a junior majoring in Computer Science at Stanford University. Ellora grew up in the Bay Area, but never considering majoring in computer science until taking an introductory class at Stanford and realizing the amazing energy surrounding technology. She spent summer 2012 interning at Palantir Technologies, and will be developing for Facebook in London, England during summer 2013.