Girl Scouts introduce game design and coding curriculum

Cookie season is over. Now, the Girl Scouts have set their sights on closing the gender gap in the gaming industry

Topics: Girl Scouts, Gaming, Video Games, video game industry, Sexism, , ,

A Los Angeles chapter of the Girl Scouts has introduced a merit award for game design in an effort to encourage its members to get involved in science and technology, and help close the gender gap in both fields.

The California-based chapter partnered with Women in Games International to design the requirements and curriculum for the patch. And while the new focus area isn’t recognized organization-wide yet, they hope that will change, soon: “Fostering interest in technology and video game development in females of all ages … is the main inspiration for working towards a national badge,” Sheri Rubin, president and CEO of Design, Direct, Deliver and a member of WIGI’s steering committee, told NBC News in an email.

“Our plan is to start by working with the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles to introduce a local patch and once successful open it up to other councils where game developers are prevalent,” she added. “We hope this can be accomplished over the next couple years.”

In addition to designing their own games, scouts will also be learning to code them using a customized version of design program Gamestar Mechanic.



The gender gap in the video game industry has fallen under increased scrutiny lately. Last year, women working in the industry took to Twitter through the hashtag #1reasonwhy to call out the daily sexism and larger institutional barriers to equal representation in the field. With more women speaking out, and now, thanks to the Girls Scouts and other female-focused tech programs, more girls learning early on that they can code with confidence, we may soon see women increase their ranks in an industry that has remained a boys club for far too long.

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

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