WHY DO GIRLS NEED ROLE MODELS TO CONSIDER CAREERS IN TECH?
People ask me all the time, ‘What is it like to be a woman at Google?’ I’m not a woman at Google; I’m a geek at Google. And being a geek is just great.”
YES, Marissa Mayer…you are awesome, and we applaud you!
We all need role models and people who inspire us to make decisions about our lives, our careers and our families. This is because we are subjects of influence. Even though we believe we make our own decisions about our lives, if we have not been influenced in some way, how would we know something was even possible?
At the beginning of this year, I (Carly Britton, Technical Support Manager at VUALTO) got together with Femke Schurer (Product Manager at VUALTO), Lana Dalby (Co-Founder at Babble App) and Becky Veater (Co-Founder and Head of Web Development at Elixel). We had one common goal – to raise awareness of the career opportunities for women in tech. As a result, we met fortnightly to discuss our journeys of how we got into the tech industry and our experiences along the way. I found it refreshing to talk to other females and to discover what motivated them to begin a tech career.
Collectively, we wanted to raise awareness to girls that a tech career was a possibility and actually, a pretty awesome career path to take. We spent weeks working out our mission, our goals and the route to accomplishing these goals. We joined forces with Women in STEM Plymouth and became committee members to represent the ‘T’ in STEM. It was then that we decided our first event would be a free coding session for girls aged 11-13 in the Plymouth area.
After researching existing opportunities in Plymouth for girls who want a tech career, we discovered that Plymouth library offered ‘Hello World – Coding and Making’ sessions, for young people aged 8-13 years. We decided that the library would be a great starting point for us so reached out to Laura Norman (Development Officer – Plymouth City Council). After explaining to Laura what we wanted to accomplish, she loved the idea. As a result, Laura offered us library space and the equipment to run our sessions. We also joined the STEM Ambassador Programme, so we could volunteer and inspire young people to progress further in technology.
This is the theory behind STEM education…
By exposing students to STEM and giving them opportunities to explore STEM-related concepts, they will develop a passion for it and hopefully, as a result, pursue a job in a STEM field. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and maths. (https://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-stem-education-definition-importance-standards.html)
8 months on from our first meeting and we are about to run our first session #GIRLCODE!
#GIRLCODE is a free coding class for girls aged 11-13 who want to learn to code in a fun and friendly environment. Run by tech industry professionals, the easy and interactive session will provide hands-on experience of programming using the BBC micro:bit. “micro:bit is a tiny programmable computer, designed to make learning and teaching easy and fun!” https://microbit.org/ #GIRLCODE aims to encourage girls in the Plymouth area to consider careers in technology and software development. #GIRLCODE is supported by VUALTO, Elixel, Babble App and Women in STEM Plymouth.