Girls make the City

By Briana Hayes
Staff Writer

Women and girls are becoming more and more involved in fields that involve science and technology. In order to support this and defy gender-specific job stereotypes, an annual event “Girls Make the City” introduces and develops the interest of 11-17-year-old girls in these fields.

On Sunday, Sept. 7, Mayor Walsh, the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics, the Mayor’s Office of Women’s Advancement and the MIT Media Lab collaborated to ensure that 25 girls from various groups were introduced to Scratch, as well as mentors in the technology and science fields at the District Hall in Boston’s Innovation District.

Scratch is a program developed by the MIT Media Lab’s Lifelong Kindergarten group. Scratch is a free online program that was designed with the goal of allowing young people to engage their creative thinking, reasoning, and group work skills through an introductory programming language that brings the power of computer science to everyone.

This is accomplished because Scratch allows its users to create their own interactive stories, games and animations; in addition, young people can also share their creations with others through the program. Currently there have been over six million projects shared.

The Lifelong Kindergarten group at MIT holds the philosophy that through their novel technologies they can expand the capabilities of every person. Their technologies are analogous to the basic building blocks, flashcards and fingerpaint that is omnipresent in classrooms. Through them people will be able to grow creatively and intelligently.

In a world that is becoming increasingly technology-based, computer programming and the ability to prosper in a technical world is essential. The Lifelong Kindergarten group at MIT is also providing other programs to further the ability to use technology aimed for young people.

Dress Code combines computer programming with graphic design and manipulation with the goal of creating computer-generated physical artifacts.

Young people with a basic knowledge of computer programming are able to create clothing, jewelry and accessories using the program, which is compatible with digital fabrication machines.

By combining creative thinking and the ability to create an actual physical object, young people can see their imaginations come to life.

Through this event, the Lifelong Kindergarten group, the Mayor, and his offices were able to bring the power of technology to young women and girls of Boston.

With an increased knowledge of computer science and technology, young girls can continue to fight the stereotypes in the workforce.