Zaniac, an afterschool STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) enrichment program for students in grades K-8, today announced a “Just for Girls” Computer Programming course that begins November 10, 2014. 

The new gender-specific courses will include the same course material as traditional Zaniac programs, but will be taught by female instructors and only available to girls. Based on demand and location, Zaniac will expand these specific course offerings across other traditional programs such as Zane Math, Zaniac Robotics: Lego®, and Game-based Learning: Minecraft, to name a few.

“At Zaniac, we believe that math and technology can be fun and exciting for everyone, girls included; all it takes is the right approach,” explains Zaniac President Sidharth Oberoi.

The first “Just for Girls” course, Computer Programming, will allow students to build real programming skills while creating their own games and music videos. The Computer Programming course uses Scratch, a block-based programming language developed at MIT and features a low ratio of five students or less per instructor.

Current studies show that females lag behind males in the STEM fields and entrepreneurship. According to the recently released Understanding the Gender Gap in STEM Fields Entrepreneurship study, over two-thirds of the gap in STEM entrepreneurship and careers can be attributed to gender differences in the areas of experience (or enrichment), seniority, and the effects of parenthood. The study also found that in STEM fields with lowest female representation among U.S.-earned PhDs including computer science, math and statistics, females disproportionately enroll in programs with relatively higher shares of female faculty.

Oberoi added, “Having a strong female role model in the classroom is essential to dispelling the stereotypes of STEM-related study and occupations as male-centric. We plan to change these statistics one girl at a time.”