While women make up almost half of all employees in the country, they only account for around a quarter of STEM – science, technology, engineering, and math jobs – according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. But some second grade girls at New Emerson Elementary School hope to change that, and are absorbing everything they can learn about coding, as a part of Computer Science Education Week.

The lesson included some apps designed for children to help learn the basics of coding, along with other kinds of toys to give them a better understanding of the subject. “Coding is just another word for computer science, the study of how computers work and how you program them. So it’s computer programming basically,” said Miranda Bailey, a paralibrarian at New Emerson Elementary School.

Coding falls into the STEM category. Bailey said it’s important to introduce the complex world of things like coding to all students, but specifically to young girls. Nationwide, women hold nearly as many undergraduate degrees as men, but only around 30 percent of those degrees are in STEM. “We want to start at a young age. Especially with girls, there is a stigma attached to math and science,” said Bailey.

Lily Hoffman and Camille Scruton are second grade girls leading the charge at coding. “Coding isn’t a boy or a girl thing, it’s an everybody thing,” said Lily Hoffman, a second grade student at New Emerson.

To find out more about Computer Science Education Week, visit the website at https://csedweek.org/.