Alaina Percival: She’s Coding a Path for Women

March 30 - On The Dot

OK, so what the heck is coding? You’ve probably heard this buzzword a lot, especially in the past few years. Code is basically a recipe. It’s a set of instructions that computers understand. People write this recipe, then the computer puts it into motion, and—bada bing, bada boom—you get a digital pie that enables all the wonders of the electronic world to operate.

If you’re in the dark about coding and all its intricacies, be grateful that some crazy smart women out there have mastered this skill. And if you’re one of those brilliant women, thank you. Seriously.

WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 78.6 Percent

Today’s statistic is a roller coaster, so strap in, y’all. Researchers recently looked at whether men or women were more likely to have their coding suggestions accepted by an open-source software community called GitHub. Their hypothesis—get your eye roll ready—was that men would fare better, considering women still aren’t holding down enough seats in the STEM world. But guess what? It was quite the opposite! Women’s coding suggestions were accepted 78.6 percent of the time, compared with 74.6 percent of the time for male coders.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Alaina Percival, CEO and Board Chair of Women Who Code

Today, we’re talking about one of those fierce women who code better than men and is teaching other women how to successfully accomplish the coding recipe. Alaina Percival is the first CEO of Women Who Code, a global nonprofit dedicated to inspiring women to excel in technology careers, which now has 80,000 members throughout the world.

For many women, coding is an instrumental skill, whether they plan to start a tech career or even launch their own business. About one-third of the Women Who Code members are engineers, while another one-third are still learning to code. The rest are front-end developers, entrepreneurs and executives—all with the goal of supporting the next generation of women leaders in the tech world.

A key statistic mentioned on the Women Who Code website notes that software development is one of the fastest-growing job sectors in the world economy, and that these tech jobs often come along with higher incomes than many other industries. And when it comes to the tech industry, it’s been proven time and time again that a diverse team is definitely a better team.

Women Who Code aims to empower women to advance these skills by offering free technical and leadership events, as well as creating and fostering a network of supportive women and providing women with more opportunities in tech fields. Indeed, since the company started six years ago, it has awarded more than $1 million in educational scholarships and tech-conference tickets.

Recognizing that many women shy away from the coding universe because they may not understand it, Alaina published a piece in The Wall Street Journal naming 10 reasons why women should work as software engineers. A few of the most persuasive reasons include the potential for a flexible work schedule, which we know women want, as well as the element of collaboration, and job security and career growth.

Thanks, Alaina, for slowly but surely changing the face of the tech industry by supporting this generation of women in tech to become tomorrow’s role models.


I’ll let former CEO of Reddit, Ellen Pao, remind you why getting more women in the tech industry is so crucial. She said:

“If we do not share our stories and shine a light on inequities, things will not change.”

This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. So share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.

To learn more about our conversation, check us out at and talk to us @OnTheDotWoman on Twitter and Instagram. We’d love to hear your voice.

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