Girls Who Code

A club at UHS promoting girls’ participation in computer science


Daniyah Taimur


The Urbana High School Girls Who Code club is a group of female students learning how to code. The club has meetings during club time on club days and after school. The members learn from their adviser, Ms.  Elias, who teaches them like she would teach a regular class. Some days she gives lectures and shows how to complete a certain task in a given programming language. Other days the students work on projects that can be collaborative or individual.


The club is comprised of members of all different levels. Some have never coded before, but are interested in learning and others have taken AP Computer Science classes. The lectures and projects are easily adapted to each student’s level. For example, all the students have to make a program that accomplishes the same task, but the more experienced students would have to do it in a more complex and intricate way.


Since there are students of different levels in the club, a variety of programming languages are taught. These languages include Java and JavaScript. However,the language the students use the most is Python. They use this language because it is relatively easy for beginners to learn, but also allows advanced students to solve difficult problems with the programs they created. Most of the programs the members create are games. This is because “games are more fun to create and require a lot of thought and detail, which can help us improve our coding and problem solving skills,” as one member said.


All of the club members seem interested in learning how to code and program and their interest can be seen through the high-level and complex programs they are able to create. They are thankful for their adviser for “teaching them things about coding and programming we wouldn’t normally learn in some classes,” as another student said. The members seem to enjoy the club because many of them attend all the meetings. They are appreciative that there is a club at their school that promotes and teaches girls how to code, which inspires them to continue their studies in computer science.


Despite the impact the club is having on its members directly, it also has a larger global impact. Currently, there is a major gap in the number of women and men who have careers related to coding. Many measures have been taken, all around the globe, to reduce this gap. An example are local clubs that promote girls’ education in computer science, like Urbana’s Girls Who Code club. The club’s mission is to promote coding and computer science to everyone, but particularly to girls because of the lack of women in computer science related careers. The club hopes to ignite an interest in computer science in its members. Ideally, this interest would carry on throughout the members’ lives leading them to a career in computer science. These girls who would have careers related to coding would be part of a group of many other girls working together to eliminate the gap that is present in this career field. Join the Girls Who Code club to help reduce the gender gap in computer science and coding related career fields.