Imperial students inspire the next generation of women coders


Two girls looking at computer screens

Imperial students are teaching girls to code their own games, animations and apps through an innovative outreach programme.

Imperial CodeLab powered by YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP, aims to introduce girls to computing concepts through creative projects.

If we are to make sure that technology works for everyone, we need a diverse talent pool of coders and computer scientists.

– Professor Susan Eisenbach

Targeted at Years 6 to10, the course helps bridge the gender gap in computer science.  As well as its focus on improving opportunities for girls, the programme is open to pupils from other underrepresented groups, with a particular focus on the West London community.

The learning platform used on the course was developed by Imperial students from the Department of Computing, as a project for their MSc. Since graduating, they have founded digital education startup TuringLab, who remain key to the delivery of CodeLab at Imperial.

The initiative has been made possible by generous support from the YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP,  as part of the company’s commitment to empowering young people, advancing gender equality and investing in digital education.

The classes will take place between Imperial and YNAP’s state-of-the-art Technology Hub Centre in White City.

Digital age

Jenny Lea, a student volunteer for CodeLab, said: “When I was younger I went to an all-girls school where they taught computing, so I didn’t think anything of it. It was only when I went to university that I realised how few of us there were, which seemed really strange at the time. I thought this programme sounded like a really interesting way to get more girls interested in coding, which is why I became involved.”

“The students really enjoy it, especially when they get to try their hand at coding games that they’re familiar with – like Flappy Bird.”

CodeLabProfessor Maggie Dallman, Associate Provost (Academic Partnerships), said: “This programme is a shining example of how we can harness the creativity and passion of the Imperial community to inspire young people from all backgrounds. We are very grateful to the YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP for their generosity and foresight in supporting this important initiative.”

Susan Eisenbach, Professor of Computing, has been a champion of CodeLab. She said: “We live in the digital age, where technology is crucial to our day-to-day lives. If we are to make sure that technology works for everyone, we need a diverse talent pool of coders and computer scientists.

Future innovators

Sam Green, Imperial alumnus and co-founder of Turinglab, added: “We started Turinglab to ensure children's first steps into coding are fun and creative. Through the CodeLab programme we are ensuring more girls and children from low-income families develop important thinking skills and the ability to create the future.”

Alex Alexander, Chief Information Officer at YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP explained: “We are proud to join forces with Imperial College London for Codelab and play our part in promoting digital literacy.  With CodeLab, we want to inspire young children, and especially girls, to develop their digital skills, helping to create the next generation of future innovators.” 


Deborah Evanson

Deborah Evanson
Communications Division

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