Silicon Valley's Latest Geek: Barbie Gets a CS Degree

Of course, All Things Digital went.

How could we not, what with Microsoft, Mattel and the Girl Scouts of America holding a joint event last week to talk up their new partnership aimed at halting the expanding gender gap in the tech sector.

Their weapon of choice? Barbie.

Bear with us here.

According to Stanford University’s Clayman Institute for Gender Research, the percentage of women receiving computer science degrees are at about 20 percent, down from almost 40 percent in 1985.

The decline is even sharper when compared to gains made by women in almost every other academic arena in the same time period.

Recognition of the problem has sparked numerous summits, associations and research grants in tech in recent years.

Enter Microsoft and, um, Barbie.

As part of its larger DigiGirlz program, Microsoft announced a $5,000 grant supporting technology education in Girl Scouting, along with a mentorship program that will match women working in tech with girls interested in science and engineering.

The summit, held at Microsoft’s Silicon Valley campus, also featured Mattel’s signature doll donning hipster glasses, a Bluetooth wireless headset and some techie duds to start her umpteenth career, this time as a computer engineer.

Thus, a video, where highlights include a quick chat with Sid Espinosa–Microsoft’s director of citizenship–a backstage chat with California’s acting Chief Information Officer Christy Quinlan, a sneak peek at the geeky Barbie and a chitchat with a troop of Brownies about their computer-use habits.

Here’s the video:


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