Posted by Melissa Sariffodeen
@melsariffodeen

Melissa is the Co-Founder and CEO of Canada Learning Code. She's a fierce advocate for providing Canadians the critical skills, confidence and opportunities they need to become passionate builders - not just consumers of technology and to thrive in our increasingly digital world.

Accessibility is Key to Diversity in Tech: Announcing the Georgian Partners Scholarship Fund

When Ladies Learning Code started in 2011, the idea was simple: how can we make an impact on the number of women in tech? Soon after launching it became clear that if we wanted change the ratio of women in technology we needed to start younger. And so, Girls Learning Code was born.  Through Girls Learning Code, we run technology-based workshops, camps and afterschool programs for girls ages 6-16 to inspire them to be passionate builders and not just consumers of technology and to use technology as a creative tool to change the world.

Why is it so important that we reach girls at an earlier age?

Technology is everywhere and it’s not going anywhere. And that means it’s especially important that the creation of technology is as representative and diverse as the population using it.  But girls are opting out of careers in technology and they are opting out early.

A recent study revealed that one in four young women are choosing not to study math in their final years of high school. Girls are choosing not to study subjects that will allow them to pursue careers in STEM and that means they aren’t going to be in a position to be competitive in the future digital economy.  At Ladies Learning Code, we believe it’s important to reach girls even before they go into high school and to reduce the barriers for girls to access technology education that’s social, collaborative and inspiring.

Accessibility is the first step to diversity in tech

We’re thrilled to announce the continued support of Georgian Partners in 2015. Their generous contribution has allowed us to establish the Georgian Partners Scholarship Fund.

Georgian Partners is a Toronto-based investment firm that has funded software companies across Canada and the US. Notable Canadian investments include include Shopify, Vision Critical, Freshbooks and ScribbleLive. You can read more about why Georgian Partners has partnered with us to make it easier for disadvantaged kids to get access to programming skills here.

The purpose of the Georgian Partners Scholarship Fund is to ensure accessibility of our programs and to provide underprivileged youth the opportunity to discover and learn about technology and to inspire them to become future creators and leaders in technology.

Ladies Learning Code will be focusing our efforts on ensuring that the youth who attend our programs through the Fund are those who otherwise would not be able to attend. We’ll be partnering with local organizations, such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, YWCA, YES, Girls Crack the Code and underprivileged communities across Canada, to invite them to attend our programs on a scholarship.

Digital literacy is the next education frontier. We’re proud to be collaborating with Georgian Partners to ensure that all Canadians, regardless of socioeconomic situation, have access to learning opportunities with the Georgian Partners Scholarship Fund. Thank you!

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