App Camp for Girls kicks off Indiegogo fundraiser

App Camp for Girls kicks off Indiegogo fundraiser

App Camp for Girls is a new non-profit organization based in Portland, Ore. hoping to get its feet off the ground through a fundraising campaign through the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo.

There's a huge gender disparity in software development - men dramatically outnumber women. The goal is to get tween and teen girls interested in software development by pairing them with women instructors, helping them to build their own apps and hopefully inspire them to pursue careers in software development. They'd like to scale the program nationally, though it's starting locally in Portland, Ore.

The founder of App Camp for Girls is Jean MacDonald. She's a partner at Smile, the productivity application developer for Mac and iOS behind products like PDFpen, DiscLabel and TextExpander. Jean's also an accomplished rock musician. That background gave her the inspiration for App Camp for Girls, as she's a volunteer and former board member at the Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls.

App Camp for Girls is already on track to have two more sessions this summer, with girls already signing up. The money raised through the Indiegogo campaign will be used to fund and expand the program for the next year.

Peter Cohen

Managing Editor of iMore, Mac and gaming specialist and all-around technologist. Follow him on Twitter @flargh

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App Camp for Girls kicks off Indiegogo fundraiser

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Only for girls huh. Sounds sexists.

Also, why can't these people pay for their camps like normal people and normal camps do?

Not nearly as sexist as the crap that women routinely put up with at tech conferences or in their jobs in the high tech industry.

This is a non-profit organization trying to raise funds. You don't want to give them money, don't. Your attitude says a lot more about your character than it does about their fund raising efforts, though.

Responding with a wall of text personal story:
My eldest daughter was recently in a "boys vs girls" trivia contest, and there was a section where the boys were asked "girl" questions and the girls were asked "boy" questions. The boy questions included math and science, while the girl questions were almost exclusively dress and makeup, and nothing technical. Were the organizers maliciously sexist here? Probably not -- they were just trying to have a little fun. But, conscious or not, the implication behind it is that math and science are "boy" subjects, and that a girl fits in best when they shun those for more girly pursuits. I see my two girls face that pressure -- a pressure boys do not face -- all the time.

Ideally, all girls would be strong enough to say "f*** you -- I'll learn what I want". (I note with pride that my daughter kicked the boys' asses on the science questions.) But let's face it, XX or XY, most of us math and science geeks are not the socially brightest bulbs in the socket. Combine that social awkwardness with the pressure to conform - or at least not stick out - that all teenagers face, and you get a lot of girls who may be interested in tech but decide it is not worth the social problems. That is a crushing waste of potential not just for them, but for all of us who want tech to advance as fast as possible.

*That* is what these camps are for. To give those technically-inclined-but-perhaps-not-socially-confident-enough girls a place where they can explore their technical curiosity, where they understand it is ok to develop and refine skills that interest them. Hopefully, they come back with not just those skills, but with the confidence to continue exploring them on their own.

Maybe one day enough of them will come back so that these camps would no longer be necessary.

I still think it's wrong to make gender specific camps. It only adds to segregation and learns kids that if they want something as well that they can't be included with the rest but must have their own little thing. When's the last time you saw someone make fun of a girl for liking science to the extent that they do a boy for liking makeup and dresses? Kids of all genders face pressure.

As far as women in science goes, from my own experience, from school to having worked in a number of research and routine clinical labs there were always more women then men in the field.

"I still think it's wrong to make gender specific camps. It only adds to segregation and learns kids that if they want something as well that they can't be included with the rest but must have their own little thing. "
-- Your grammar aside, I might buy the argument that such camps are a *necessary evil* -- but to advocate shuttering them altogether, you need to either a) come up with an alternative that solves the problem without that necessary evil or b) deny that it (underrepresentation and/or sexism in technical fields) is a problem altogether.

"When's the last time you saw someone make fun of a girl for liking science to the extent that they do a boy for liking makeup and dresses?"
-- Fair point. If this concerns you, I am sure Indiegogo would give you a spot to attempt to raise venture capital for your own camps. I might even contribute.

"Kids of all genders face pressure"
-- So, obviously, since pressure is everywhere, we should deal with it nowhere. That makes zero sense.

"As far as women in science goes, from my own experience, from school to having worked in a number of research and routine clinical labs there were always more women then men in the field"
-- The plural of anecdote is not data. Here is some data from 90 seconds on Google:

Computer Science: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2006: 27-29% of CS workforce is women, and the number of graduates has declined by 2% between the 90s and the mid 2000s. [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_computing ]
Engineering: Percentage of undergraduate women in Engineering degree programs: 19.3% in the US. [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_engineering ]
Engineering: 14% of engineering workforce is female, according to Congress, and the number appears to be declining [ http://news.thomasnet.com/IMT/2013/02/19/where-are-americas-women-engine... ]
Medicine: 47% of 1st year medical students are women, up from 36% 20 years ago. [ http://www.catalyst.org/knowledge/women-medicine ]

I am not sure in what scientific fields you see more women than men, but their dominance is certainly not in evidence in the data

Edit: changed "not too long ago" to "20 years ago", because not everybody is as old as me, and might think 20 years is a long time...

I don't have to come up with a better idea or deny it altogether to express my opinion. This is a fallacy that comes up very frequently. Usually it's in the form of 'why don't you make a app then' or 'what have you done that's better'. This is off course a completely invalid reason for dismissing criticism. Roger Ebert one of the biggest and most respected movie critics made one movie, and it was a giant flop.

Where did I say that not dealing with it was the solution? Nowhere. You said that girls face pressure that boys don't. I said that boys also face pressure that girls don't. Children are overall pretty terrible to each-other.

Ah personal anecdote vs. personal anecdote. Here's a report from 2008 from Pennsylvania (? first thing on google): "Across the Commonwealth, the majority of diagnostic related technologists and technicians are female at 78.7 percent. This is higher than the national average of 71.7 percent.", "Over the 2003-2004, 2004-2005, and 2005-2006 academic years, 15 percent (60) of total program completers were male and 85 percent (338) were female." [ http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=18&objID=490346&mode=2 ] (direct PDF link)

In the Belgian University KULeuven (27000+ students) in 2004 there were 500 1st year medical students: a smashing 350 women and only 150 men. [ http://www.veto.be/jg31/veto3102/tweeinschrijvingen.html ] (In Dutch)

"Where did I say that not dealing with it was the solution? Nowhere. You said that girls face pressure that boys don't. I said that boys also face pressure that girls don't. Children are overall pretty terrible to each-other."

When we are arguing about the price of Mangoes in Sumatra, nobody cares what you say about the temperature of spit in Wichita. Boys face pressure. Yup. How precisely does that make less of an issue the fact that girls face a specific pressure that dissuades them from careers in science?

You may wish to look up what the word "anecdote" means. What you have stated here is actual data, not an anecdote. I consult for a cardiology practice where the physicians, PAs, and technicians are all women. That is an anecdote - a personal experience that may or not agree with the larger context. (It doesn't.) Your numbers on radiology technicians are data.

As for that data, diagnostic technicians are skilled practitioners, and sought after labor, but they are not scientists. A radiology certification - one of the more difficult ones to obtain - is not a four year program, but an associate degree that offers no component for research or creative design. Perhaps more importantly, all diagnostic technician positions are strictly subordinate to another practitioners whose ranks *are* predominantly male. Claiming that diagnostic technicians represent a large presence in science is akin to claiming that dentistry is dominated by women because the majority of dental hygienists are women, even if 78% of active dentists are male. [ 2003, http://www.spiritofcaring.com/public/488.cfm ]

Regarding your Belgian University, that is part of a European trend over the last two decades where men forego tertiary education in favor of vocational training. [ http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/statistics_explained/index.php/Educatio... ] Were it demonstrable that European boys feel pressured to avoid education, I would be just as in favor of private foundations setting up camps to give those boys a safe place to explore.

"How precisely does that make less of an issue the fact that girls face a specific pressure that dissuades them from careers in science?" It doesn't, and I never said that. And when we are discussing the price of mangoes in Sumatra the price of other fruit in the region would be relevant as comparison, as would local wages…

Before you try selling me a dictionary try reading a conversation for more than just the last reply. You gave an anecdote, "Responding with a wall of text personal story" was your first sentence, you obviously thought that was good enough in itself. I replied with my own experience, which you dismissed out of hand because I had no evidence. You, granted came up with different evidence. Ergo anecdote vs anecdote. I then continued with facts.

Saying lab technicians are not scientist shows how little you know of what technicians do or what scientists are. It's akin to saying engineers, doctors, chemists, biologists, etc. are not scientist. Some are some aren't. There is no such thing as studying to become a scientist, and length of the study is hardly relevant to becoming one. I have worked as a technician doing basic research for years, I think up experiments, execute them and analyse the data. What do you think makes someone a scientist? A PhD? You don't have to become a scientist to study something sciency, most science related educations don't result in a new scientist. I also never claimed that women dominate science, all I did was add some proof to my anecdote as you seemed to have wanted.

So when there are more males than females in something it's because girls are dissuaded to do so. When there are more women than men, it's because men don't care. And yet somehow advanced education attendance has been outpacing population growth. I would just be opposed (harsh, but the best opposite of "in favor" I could think of right now) to boys-only camps.

Anyhow, I'm not sure how any of this is relevant to the article. We were talking about app developers (none are scientists btw). All I stated was that I believe inclusion is far better than segregation.

Sam out!

Puh-leeze. If you want to split hairs, my anecdote was earlier in the thread. You responded to my *data* with an anecdote. As for the comment about lab technicians, I let me try to restate the point you missed:

Lab technicians are subordinate to professionals in every lab. I work with radiology technicians evert day. I was a phlebotomist. There is nothing wrong with those positions, but in *every* case we answer to the doctors and professionals above us. They are subordinate positions with no avenue past that ceiling. Period. That you hold up female prevalence in a single subordinate position is remotely comparable to aggregate data across educational and private sector institutions is ludicrous.

Stepping back, earlier you said:
"Where did I say that not dealing with it was the solution?"

That to me, implies you agree there is a problem worth solving. So, specifically:

1) Do societal pressures discourage girls from pursuing technical careers? I do not want to put words in your mouth, but I infer from that statement you agree there is a problem worth solving.

2) If so, how would you go about resolving it?