Closing Tech’s Gender Gap: Sprout’s ‘Dot’ From Randi Zuckerberg Encourages Young Girls To Enter Technology Industry

By Olivia Reese, Parent Herald October 23, 03:42 am

A new kids' show from Randi Zuckerberg, the sister of Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, aims to encourage young girls to embrace technology and help close the gender gap in the industry. "Dot" airs on NBC's Sprout, a popular children's channel and features an animated, gutsy girl as the titular character.

"Dot" is based on Zuckerberg's 2013 children's book of the same name. Dot is tech savvy, carries her tablet everywhere she goes and is curious about what the world has to offer, AdWeek reported.

Zuckerberg found it ironic that she spent ten years in Silicon Valley, a place renowned for pioneering innovation and forward-thinking, yet she can count the number of women and colored executives in one hand. True enough, a new report from non-profit organization Girls Who Code found that the number of women in the tech industry is falling. The report projected the number of women in tech to drop to 22 percent from 24 percent in the next decade, USA Today reported.

Major tech companies have low numbers of female employees. Only 18 percent of Google's employees are women, Facebook is at 16 percent, and Twitter only has 10 percent, The Huffington Post reported in Nov. 2015.

Zuckerberg told NPR that the tech industry's gender gap inspired her to "get more messages out into pop culture with female role models for young girls." She hopes that "Dot" will show how cool and exciting technology is to young girls and inspire them to be the next generation of leaders.

On "Dot," the titular character goes on adventures with her best friend and a young boy of color named Hal, AdWeek further reported. Zuckerberg said that Dot and her pals don't look like the usual cast of characters because they display "all levels of diversity."

Dot and Hal rely on their gadgets to improve their journeys and experiences but the two also use high tech such as 3D-printing and experimenting on robots and drones, Yahoo! reported. Kids can also interact with Dot on Sprout's online site through an array of games and activities made by the TV channel.

The website has five main principles when it comes to teaching children how to use tech. Those are responsibility, respect, safety, kindness and patience.

What other options can pioneers do to increase the number of females in the tech industry? Tell us your ideas below.

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