By #RewritingTheCode We Can Empower Young Women

07/03/2017 17:26 | Updated 08 March 2017
Alex J. Berliner/ABImages

all women everywhere

Embedded values and attitudes start before a girl is even born. They shape the world around her and continue throughout her life.

One recent study showed that, by the age of six, girls already associate "brilliance" as being a male trait.

Some challenges of gender equality brazenly remain on the surface, readily identified and easy to see - those people, maybe, who insist "girls are not good at this or girls should not be doing that".

But there are also embedded values or 'codes' that shape our lives, much in the same way that code defines our digital world. They lurk deeper.

Go on to any website, using Google Chrome and right-click on a part of the page. Choose 'inspect' and you'll suddenly be faced with a screen full of code that's shaping what you see.

If we want to see a future where no girl is left out of the classroom, the boardroom or the conversation then we need to start rewriting the code that is holding back girls and women, in the same way we can rewrite digital code.

So this year for International Women’s Day children’s charity Theirworld has launched an ambitious campaign in collaboration with advertising and communications agencies The Partners, Kantar Added Value, Kantar Futures, MEC and VMLto expose the hidden values and behavioural codes of gender inequality.

#RewritingTheCode aims to raise awareness of the obvious and less obvious attitudes that prevent girls and women around the world from achieving their full potential.

There are two massive questions. Why don't girls around the world have equal access to education? Why don't women have equal pay and equal opportunity in the workplace?

We are using the computer code embed signs < > in a number of ways to highlight the bad code we want to rewrite and the good code we want to see in place. So, school would become , and girls would be girls . We can also use the embed code to share current facts and statistics: For example: Equal pay act <1970> Equal pay<2069>.

We are also using the campaign to share stories of individuals who have rewritten the code in their own way - from Khalida Popal, the captain of the first-ever female Afghan football team who champions the rights of girls and women, to Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE, co-founder of Stemettes, an award-winning social enterprise inspiring the next generation of females into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

Theirworld has taken the campaign more literally. It now runs code clubs for girls in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Nigeria and Jordan.

These clubs give girls the chance to code and learn more about programming but is also an empowerment and support programme being run at a time when many girls are forced to drop out of school. It provides an additional incentive to families to keep girls learning.

So around the world this International Women's Day we are looking at how we can all start rewriting the code.

We want a future where no girl is left out of a classroom, a boardroom, a decision or even a conversation.

For more information about the #RewritingTheCode campaign go to www.theirworld.org/campaigns/rewritingthecode.

HuffPost UK is running a month-long project in March called All Women Everywhere, providing a platform to reflect the diverse mix of female experience and voices in Britain today

Through blogs, features and video, we'll be exploring the issues facing women specific to their age, ethnicity, social status, sexuality and gender identity. If you'd like to blog on our platform around these topics, email ukblogteam@huffingtonpost.com

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