Social Enterprise Sisters Code Empowers Detroit Women, Transforms Lives Through Technology
We are living in a digital age that is increasingly defined by computer programs that require coding. Most of us have conquered how to work, play, socialize and consume information on apps, but very few of us understand the technology that makes them work. And when that discussion shifts to women, the number is even more alarming. Women make up 46.7 percent of the U.S. workforce, but they represent less than 25 percent of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) workers, according to Detroit-based Sisters Code. The founder of this new social enterprise, Marlin Page, is determined to change that statistic.Launched in August, Sisters Code is on a mission to educate, empower and entice women – of all ages and ethnic backgrounds – to explore the world of coding and technology. The Sisters Code vision is to not only get women interested in learning to code, but to ultimately help them land jobs in technology fields.
“It is undeniable that jobs in the technology industry are not going anywhere. No matter the career you choose, you will touch a piece of technology. In every area of our lives, technology is here, and I believe it is very important for people to learn how to code,” said Page, who, in addition to being the brains behind the Sisters Code movement, also travels the country as a STEM speaker and strategist.
During her speaking engagements, Page found that her message was not reaching an important segment of the population: mature women. “I actually started off my professional career as an aspiring mortician and also a middle school substitute teacher in Detroit,” she said. “I thought, what if someone never offered me that opportunity? Then I wouldn’t have this awesome career I have today.”
Page said she knows how it feels to be underrepresented in the world of technology and coding. She made the decision at 25 during her summer break from teaching to learn to code. “It was a hard reality when I started coding. There were women in my class, but by the end, there weren’t many left. The numbers were even more glaring when I entered the executive level of my career,” she said.