The next generation of women is already running the world. This week, AOL announced that its latest project, a total makeover of their pop-culture site Cambio, will be built for girls, by girls. Five alumnae of the nonprofit Girls Who Code, an initiative that educates young girls in computer science, teamed up with AOL to take over Cambio for the summer.
Over the past few months, the five high school students have worked alongside their AOL mentors, establishing a new editorial brand for Cambio and creating two completely new products for girls their age: The first, an app that generates inspirational quotes by allowing users to combine celeb photos and messages, and the second, a contributor community for the site, set to relaunch in October, where girls can write about their interests.
When the five girls were asked about their experience relaunching a site, they said they wanted to create a brand that didn't talk down to its audience. It was important to them that the brand respect womens' varied interests, including everything from celeb gossip to tech news. The new Cambio will be a destination that focuses on empowering young women, helping them care for and inspire one another.
During their roundtable discussion, attended by Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani, the 5 students doled out advice to their 10-year-old selves: Don't let anyone else choose your interests; ignore all preconceived notions of what you should and should not like; be proud to be a girl. From their poise and maturity, it was obvious that this project was about more than just a website--it aims to tear down society's misconceptions about young women – that they're vapid, only interested in fashion or beauty, and they don't care for STEM fields. In fact, all 5 girls noted that they intend to pursue computer science in college, whether they enter the fields of cyber security, medicine, or web analytics.
Once these five highschoolers finish the program, they will continue contributing to the network. At just 17 and 18 years old, these girls are ready to take the STEM fields by storm. It's not just about changing a few lines of code. For them, it's about changing the world.