Ladies Learning Code partners with Microsoft to offer free technology workshops for girls across Canada

TORONTO, April 7, 2015 /CNW/ - Microsoft and Ladies Learning Code announced today an initiative to increase accessibility to technology education for girls across Canada.

In 2015, Ladies Learning Code will offer their popular workshops for girls ages 8-13 for free in 19+ cities across Canada with the goal of teaching 1,000+ girls to code in 2015.

"Technology isn't going away. It's important to us that the people building the technology that we know and love is representative of those who actually use it," said Melissa Sariffodeen, Co-Executive Director, Ladies Learning Code. "We're very excited to be able to offer these workshops for free across Canada and remove barriers to teaching girls to become passionate builders (and not just consumers) of technology".

Ladies Learning Code with the support of Microsoft will run their popular day-long weekend workshop experiences throughout the year in Toronto and their other Chapter cities across Canada that are designed to help girls see technology in a whole new light – as a medium for self­expression, and as a means for changing the world. Through hands-on, project based curriculum girls are exposed to teamwork, critical thinking, creativity, and, of course, technology in a social and collaborative way with the support of expert volunteers - one volunteer for every four girls.

Women have been historically underrepresented in technology, comprising only 39 per cent of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) graduates in Canada (StatsCan). With this initiative, Ladies Learning Code and Microsoft hope to take an important step toward increasing access and participation in STEM for girls by removing barriers to access.

"Microsoft is proud to partner with Ladies Learning Code to provide young girls the opportunity to learn and develop skills in computer programming and technology," said Dennis Lopes, Microsoft Canada's Director of Legal and Corporate Affairs. "These workshops will provide girls across Canada the opportunity to engage with a technology in a manner that we hope will ultimately inspire them to pursue careers in the field of computer science."

This partnership forms part of Microsoft's YouthSpark initiative. YouthSpark is Microsoft's global commitment to empowering young people with opportunities for education, employment, and entrepreneurship. 

Free Girls Learning Code workshops will be available across the country in Ladies Learning Code's Chapter cities including Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Edmonton, Calgary, Waterloo, Halifax and St. John's. To see upcoming workshops and register a girl, visit ladieslearningcode.com.

About Ladies Learning Code
Ladies Learning Code is a Canada-wide not-for-profit organization that runs workshops for women and youth who want to learn beginner-friendly computer programming and other technical skills in a social and collaborative way. Today they have chapters across Canada, a thriving girls' program called Girls Learning Code, a newly-minted kids program called Kids Learning Code, and a permanent workshop space in Toronto. With sponsors and community partners that include Microsoft, Facebook, Autodesk, Google, FOSSter and many more, Ladies Learning Code has become synonymous with technology education in Canada.

About Microsoft
Established in 1985, Microsoft Canada Inc. is the Canadian subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq "MSFT") the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. Microsoft Canada provides nationwide sales, marketing, consulting and local support services in both French and English. Headquartered in Mississauga, Microsoft Canada has nine regional offices across the country dedicated to empowering people through great software - any time, any place and on any device. For more information on Microsoft Canada, please visit www.microsoft.ca.

SOURCE Microsoft Canada Inc.

For further information: Melissa Sariffodeen, melissa@ladieslearningcode.com, 647-922-6110; Leanne Bull, bull@veritasinc.com, 416-847-2116

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