How it got started?
“Since there is a shortage of developers and especially [with] females, we wanted to make an impact in our community and to be the change we want to see.
We set up a goal that we should give 500 girls the opportunity to be exposed to and inspired by technology and programming.”
What are the “ingredients” for your own Tech Girl:
“We purposely promoted our lessons to 11 and 12 year olds, since that’s an age were you are more easily influenced and shaped.
The girls were invited to our office and we prepared a couple of lessons in Scratch, which is a good start in learning the basics of programming and a couple of lessons in HTML.
We wanted to show them female role models and the majority of our teachers are female and the lessons are always led by a female.”
Why we do it?
I like to work with something good, like being a doctor or a developer - Sara, age 12
“Technology plays a huge part in how our society is developing right now. We know that there will be a world-wide shortage of developers and it will be a threat to our position and our possibilities to shape the future.
At the same time there is a gender imbalance in this field. Only 23% of the people working in IT are women.”
“Well, I would say two things. Anybody with an interest and knowledge in programming could teach it to others. When we started Tech Girl we didn’t have any experience in teaching but our knowledge in IT was enough.
The girls are so interested and they learn amazingly fast. And they think it is fun. They want to stay in our office after the lessons and ask when they can start working here. I am sure that some of these girls will be developers in the future.
Every time we start a new course we ask the participants what they want to work with when they grow up? And we ask the same question at the end of the course and we see a progress that after attending Tech Girl several girls see programming as a future work possibility.
And when they say I like to work with something good, like a being a doctor or a developer convinces me that we are on the right track.”
The effect on the community?
“As well, schools and other companies have been influenced by what we do and have started their own Tech Girl programs. And we are so happy about this!
When we started Tech Girl and the Facebook group ‘Tech Girl Sweden’ we purposely avoided the Valtech brand since our intention was to inspire other companies and communities to steal this concept and spread it to more girls. And we knew from the start that in order to succeed, this could not be a one-time event. We need to be persistent in our efforts and we will continue working on this. Since 2014 we have run the program 6 times and reached out to 125 girls.
In order to change the gender balance we need to work together and the more companies involved in this the better it is for our future.”
Read more about Tech Girl here - Make your own Tech Girl