Today is International Women’s Day, the day where the world stops and appreciates and celebrates the amazing achievements of women and in the technology industry many companies got on board with sharing the love. Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths are a key focus for organisations hoping to attract the smartest minds from around the world and while progress is being made, we all need to do better at encouraging our young girls (my first is due in April) to explore all industries, particularly STEM, as that provides the platform for the jobs of the future and to tackle the world’s hardest problems.
While some question the need for a dedicated day, I believe it is important, given we have dramatic under representation of females in key industries. Having events that bounce off the international attention on the day makes a lot of sense as it can accelerate the growth of a more diverse workforce.
To deliver the electrified future of transport, Tesla are heavily reliant on the skills, ideas and problem solving abilities of its employees, so naturally having a large engineering workforce, Tesla hosted an ‘Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day’ at Gigafactory 1 in Nevada. What’s awesome about this effort is that it wasn’t simply a factory tour or a ride in a car, it involved the girls in learning about technology. Take note of the faces in the photo, its likely we’ll see a few of them join the company in a few years time.
The Google homepage today played host to an interactive celebration of female artists, but its perhaps the link underneath the search box that’s the most impressive. It links users to the YouTube video below. It suggests the world is searching for more diversity. That’s a cute play on words, meaning the world is seeking more and literally searching Google for strings relating to diversity.
At the end of the video, users are provided with a URL – http://g.co/womensday, this takes you to a Google Trends page on International Women’s Day with an array of data and statistics. Nice work Google.
But Google isn’t done there, they also announced a new feature for Google Maps, enabling business owners to mark their locations as ‘women-led’. This is then surfaced along other business properties like ‘Has Wi-Fi’ or ‘Outdoor seating’.
Redmond were also keen to encourage females to consider careers in STEM. As mentioned in the linked article, today’s youngest students, known as Gen Z, are unlike any previous generation. They live and breath technology, with the creativity and confidence to use STEM to drive to positive change. Yet we are failing to keep them engaged and excited about the possibilities that STEM studies and careers provide. Unless things change much faster, many in this bright, hopeful generation will not enter these fields.
The best companies have programs that help this cause all year round and DigiGirlz is just that. Its a Microsoft YouthSpark program, giving middle and high school girls opportunities to learn about careers in technology, connect with Microsoft employees, and participate in hands-on computer and technology workshops.
Coopertino is celebrating International Womens Day with a workshop in their London store called ‘Celebrating Women in Coding’. Apple is inviting families to celebrate the achievements of women in social tech and coding. Editor-in-Chief of Netmums, Anne-Marie O’Leary, will lead a unique discussion on the importance of technology for entrepreneurs. Then you’ll explore the essential building blocks of coding, giving kids a chance to navigate a Sphero robot through a fun maze challenge.
If you know about other companies and how they’re celebrating females and how awesome they are, then leave a comment below.