This year, the International Women’s Day is about choosing to challenge, and as from challenge comes change, let’s think about what are the changes needed in Education for women ?
First, we can not think about women and education without reminding that unfortunately, access to education for women is still not a reality all over the world. And we know that investing in girls’ and women’s education can transform, and even save, lives. It is one of the most effective ways to achieve positive, sustainable change in the world, for everyone. That being said, let’s focus on one specific challenge: Women in Tech. In fact, the UN Sustainable development has set 17 goals to transform our World by 2030. There are 2 primary objectives that are a call for action of the 17 goals:
● Goal#5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
The issue of women empowerment in Tech is one of its main targets. The aim is to close the gender gap and to help women embrace technology.
● Goal#4: Quality Education
The aim is to educate, equip and empower women and girls with the necessary skills and confidence to succeed in STEAM ( Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) career fields. Every girl and woman should have equal access to opportunities in STEAM, as access to knowledge, innovation and business opportunities are based on interest and ability, not gender.
Now how can we explain that women, who have played a major role in the history of IT, tend to desert a booming sector? Why is it key to give them back a more important place? What to do to reverse the trend?
We know that the Tech sector will generate the most jobs in the years to come. No one can imagine building the digital world of tomorrow without women. And most of all we do not want that.
Several reasons explain why girls are moving away from IT, starting with the gendered representation: The image of the “geek” as a young teenager has grown in society, as have those of groups made up entirely of young boys who share a common passion for computer games. And it is true that the training courses that lead to these careers are still very little known and often have masculine connotations, confirming some parents or children that this sector is not intended for women. An idea that persists and that keeps young girls away from this sector.
One approach to increase a girl’s interest in STEAM disciplines could be to show them more modern and contemporary role models, in order to start thinking that this career type is a possibility for them. They must know that they are not alone and that many women fulfilled their dreams about being scientists, technologists, engineers or mathematicians. But they need someone comparable, such as a role model from their community or someone that went to their school who then had a successful career in a STEM related field.
To support girls in their choice to pursue STEAM education and careers, teaching STEAM earlier at school should be mandatory. Many educational initiatives are carried out to encourage programming lessons in a compulsory manner in secondary schools, which have the merit of putting girls and boys on the same footing in terms of computer science. However programming should not be teached as an end but as a means of developing the soft skills necessary in tech.
“Because when women rise, we all rise.”
ChooseToChallenge #IWD2021 #WomenInTech
Author: Gaëlle Girardeau
Co-founder @ Cood.fr