On Saturday, 20th June, CoderDojo London and Thomson Reuters held a Girls Only CoderDojo, a groundbreaking initiative in the world of technology.
John claffey and Thomas Attree are volunteers for CoderDojo London and hold technology roles at Thomson Reuters. They made a commitment at Mozfest last year to run a ‘Girls Only’ event as part of their teach the web campaign. Thomson Reuters was extremely keen to support this initiative, as it echoes the work they do to encourage girls into STEM careers. The fact that is coincided with London Technology Week made it all the more appropriate!
Girls were invited to participate through Thomson Reuters staff and the CoderDojo network and organisers were astounded by the popularity of the event. One hundred and thirty girls visited South Colonnade for four hours to learn Scratch, HTML, Appmaker, X Ray Goggles, Ohbots, Robots and Python programming.
Christine Ashton, SVP Technology and Marily Nika, EMEA Speech Data Program Manager at Google both took time time out to come and speak to the girls. Christine explained what coding is, how it is used, and why it is so important, while Marily talked about how it is OK to be different, to enjoy technology and to ‘break things along the way’ as you develop.
There has been fantastic feedback from many parents who attended the event with their children, including Diane Taylor-Cummings, Director PM of Excellence. “This day gave my daughter the opportunity to be centre stage in technology and to explore with confidence,” she said.
Research shows that girls are six times more likely to consider subjects like maths, science and technology in an all girls environment than in a co-ed environment. And as we know, women continue to be vastly underrepresented in STEM careers. This girls only CoderDojo event is a small step towards empowering girls to shift this paradigm.
Why is this important? If technology is designed mostly by the half of our population that’s male, we’re missing out on the innovations, solutions, and creations that 50% of the population could bring.