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‘CodeGirl’ Documentary Gets a Boost From YouTube and Al Gore

YouTube is hosting free online distribution this week of “CodeGirl,” a new documentary that pushes to close the gender gap that leaves women hugely under-represented in the technology world.

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki announced Sunday that the streaming video site would host the doc through Nov. 5 “to inspire more girls around the world to pursue their passions in tech.”

The picture comes from filmmaker Lesley Chilcott, who previously received producing credits on “An Inconvenient Truth” and “Waiting for Superman.” “CodeGirl” tracks the story of 5,000 girls from 60 nations as they competed in an entrepreneurship and coding competition by Technovation. The girls had three months to develop an app to solve a problem in their local community. The winner received $10,000 in funding and support.

Wojcicki said in a post to the official blog of Google (YouTube’s parent) that she wanted to support the film to help bring more young women into technology jobs. She noted that women earn the majority of bachelor’s degrees in the U.S., but fewer than 20% of the computer science degrees.

“The problem of getting girls more interested in tech has many sources, but according to Google’s own research, one of them is optics,” wrote Wojcicki. “Girls don’t see positive role models of other girls and women in popular culture. In a study of popular films in 11 countries, fewer than 20 percent of computer science or tech roles were held by women.”

Wojcicki said YouTube was airing the documentary as part of its Made with Code and media perception initiatives. The film began screening at the ArcLight in Culver City Nov. 1 and will be released later this month at theaters in San Francisco and Seattle.

In a tweet, director Chilcott described a Code Girl as “someone who looks around them and says, hey, I see a problem, how can I use technology to solve it?” The film also received a Twitter shout-out from former Vice President (and “An Inconvenient Truth” star) Al Gore, as well. “Watch @CODEGIRLMOVIE from my friend @LesleyChilcott and encourage girls to code. #RallyForCODEGIRL,” Gore wrote.

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