The gender gap in computer science learning starts early. In our experience in providing opt-in after-school classes to thousands of kids at 15 area schools, girls' enrollment is far lower among fourth and fifth graders. Societal forces, even at such a young age, persuade far too many girls that coding is for other kids, not them. We suspect the same is true for at-risk youth. Our conclusions? Start CS learning grades K-5. Create girl-friendly classes and clubs (e-textiles, 3D design, animation). And engage K-5 parents and guardians to support and celebrate kids' CS learning.
Thoughts and suggestions welcome in Comments.