Microsoft is making sure Barbie is adds computer engineer to her long list of careers. As part of its DigiGirlz program, Microsoft joined forces with the Girl Scouts of Northern California and Mattel to encourage young girls to explore computer science careers.
More than 200 Girl Scouts, community leaders, government officials, and Microsoft employees came to Silicon Valley for the DigiGirlz Summit. A panel of women from the technology, government, and academic sectors spoke about best practices for encouraging girls and women to pursue tech-related careers; female Microsoft employees were on hand to help and talk about their experience. Lisa Brummel, senior vice president of Human Resources at Microsoft, announced an ongoing partnership with the Girl Scouts of Northern California to support its Girls Go Tech program.
At the same time, Mattel has started selling a Barbie Computer Engineer Doll for $13. She comes dressed in a funky tee with binary code design, includes a cell phone headset, laptop bag, pink laptop, and a special code to unlock career-themed content online.
Even though women represent more than 50 percent of the population on US college campuses, they earn only 18 percent of all computer science degrees and only 10 percent of engineering degrees. Microsoft's DigiGirlz program is thus an effort to address this disparity.