Breaking the Code: Women Get Together to Program and Build Confidence

According to a report from the American Association of University Women, the number of women in computing has fallen dramatically since 1990, but you wouldn't know it if you happened upon the Women Coding Hour at NYU Tandon. Founded in Fall 2015, this new initiative brings women from different disciplines together to learn from one another. It was jointly established by Ana Bolsoni (Computer Engineering, Class of 2018) and Professor Linda Sellie of the Computer Science and Engineering Department.

Inspiration for Women Coding Hour came from the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference hosted by the Anita Borg Institute, the world’s largest technical conference for women in computing. “I have a lot of girls that come up to me saying 'I’m not encouraged to ask questions' or 'I think my questions are stupid.' Women Coding hour is just a space for women to build confidence and share what they know,” said Bolsoni. Meetings occur bi-weekly and serve not only as a means to learn and ask questions, but also as a networking experience. The group is attended by women in all fields of study and is open to all students at NYU.

Bolsoni added, “The thing about Women Coding Hour is that it is supposed to be more about confidence building than goal oriented. Some women go there just to do homework, because they want to be with other women. Not everyone who attends the meetings is working on our projects.”

Member Jessica Joseph (Computer Engineering, Class of 2018) explains the initiative has taught her the importance of a support system. She said, “The aim of Women Coding Hour is to help women hackers grow in their ability as well as have a support system throughout their development...It especially helps having Professor Sellie be so cognizant of making sure Women Coding Hour is going at a place everyone can follow.”

Ikra Rashid (Computer Science, Class of 2019) commented, “I only recently joined Women Coding Hour but I have already fallen in love with the idea and what the group stands for. I think the aim of the group is to create a comfortable space for women to build each other while working together to build a website.” Recent discussions have revolved around how women are often taught to worry about others’ egos first. “However, I think it’s time for us women to be completely unapologetic with who we are and claim our space in the engineering field," Rashid added. 

Members are excited to expand the initiative with discussions about getting funds to go to conferences and bringing speakers from around the world. To learn more about initiatives to support women at NYU Tandon School of Engineering, visit our Women in Engineering page.

Women in Computing Conference Scholarship

Facebook is offering a scholarship for women to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference in Houston this October.

For more details and application instructions visit the Facebook Grace Hopper Scholarship Application Page.

Lathika Chandra Mouli
New York University Shanghai
B.S. in Electrical Engineering, Class of 2017