Made with Code: Why Google's Offering Free Coding Classes to Women

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It's a well-known fact that even though girls start out liking math and science in school, they start losing interest in the subject by age 13. By the time those women graduate college and enter the job market, that lack of interest translates into a huge dearth of qualified women in STEM fields. 

Tech behemoth Google is trying to change that by offering three months of coding classes free to women and minorities. The new initiative, announced at the Google I/O developer's conference this year, comes on the heels of a recent Google report that stated only 30 percent of its employees were women. Moreover, only 1 percent of Google's tech employees are black, while Hispanics comprise 2 percent. To quote Seth Rosenblatt at CNET, Google is going to try and "put its money where its diversity isn't." One thousand people will receive free accounts directly, but even if you don't receive a direct account, you can apply for the classes here.

While the classes are geared toward helping women and minorities already in tech advance their skills, you don't have to be an expert to apply. The $50 million initiative is part of Google's "Made with Code" program, which is geared toward helping middle- and high-school girls learn how to code. Google X vice president Megan Smith put it in tech terms by saying the company is in the process of "debugging inclusion." 

What do you think about this initiative? Pretty cool or simply a marketing stunt? Tell us what you think in the comments below or tweet us @Shape_Magazine!

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