Why You Need to Encourage Your Daughter to Code

I will always love Mark Zuckerberg for his witty, ingenious response to a comment from a grandmother. The grandmother wrote on Facebook that she told her granddaughter to date a nerdy guy, as he may turn out to be the next Mark Zuckerberg. His response? The granddaughter should learn programming herself and become the next successful engineer.

Easier said than done, I know.

I’m lucky because my own family has always taken great interest in my enthusiasm for education and personal development. They’ve seen my own ambitions take me even further than I would have ever imagined with my History of Art degree.

Indeed, my parents have always encouraged me to be more than I ever envisioned. I am the daughter of a woman who is intelligent, educated, and everything I wish to be. She is constantly reminding me of the wealth of opportunities I will have access to in my life. While my father has worked tirelessly to allow my brother and I to have as many interests as we want.

Without the support and influences of my parents, I would never have had the courage and ability to learn coding.

To know how to code is to take part in a new age of magic; it transcends cultures and societies, and nearly every person in the world has been enthralled by the concept of magic. The beauty of code is that it can transform the world; there is nothing that code cannot allow you to do, and if your daughter does not learn to code, then she is losing that chance. Think of it as a new age Hogwarts where magic is conducted through a laptop or whatever device comes next, not through a wand.

For those of you that have never experienced the coding community, you only need to attend a Women in Technology event to see how genuinely enthusiastic the community is about creating a welcoming environment for educating women. There are very few communities in the world quite like the technology one; it is full of people who wish to expand their knowledge and their minds, who want to be entrepreneurs and change the world, but all with the genuine desire to further a broader education.

The women I have met in the coding community have become some of the greatest influencers in my life, and they are my rocks when life is tough. It is a new-age sisterhood, where everyone genuinely wishes to be the best she can be;  the whole nature of the open source community is that it promotes the idea of a shared education. Coding is part of this sharing economy, and the currency is knowledge. It’s a phenomenal experience to take part in, and there are multiple areas for bettering one’s knowledge and experiences in the coding community.

I have gone through bootcamps, and have come out the other side, teaching at them. I see girls like myself, and see their enthusiasm for learning to code.

Your daughters are the future of the world, and the future of entrepreneurship.

I am the only female developer on my Masters course. This will change in the future. Your daughter will be part of the largest growing community, where people are kind, and considerate, and wish to know about you and your story.

As for the grandmother commenting to date the nerd, well, let’s subvert that concept.

Being a coder does not automatically make you a “nerd”. That is what is stunting the growth for young women in code. It is not nerdy to code, nor is it geeky to take part in the coding community. It is empowering, and it is a global language, that everyone needs to be engaged with.

I am grateful to my parents for their unfathomable support, and I love them more than they could possibly ever know. My parents taught me that it isn’t “nerdy” to be educated.  

Let’s break apart the stereotype that coding is just something that nerds do. Let’s encourage the daughters of the world to realise their full potential, and be part of a wider community that promotes confidence, wisdom, friendship and networking. There are very few communities in the world quite like this; encourage her to be a part of it.


Emma is currently an MSc student studying Technology Entrepreneurship at UCL. Having completed both her undergraduate studies in History of Art, and worked as a Full Stack Developer at Founders & Coders, Emma has every intention to create a startup in the Culture-Tech Sector.