Become a Superhero – Join the Tech Girls Movement!
Ever wondered what it would be like to build an app? Here’s a friendly competition that anyone can get involved in!
Excitement pulsed through Google Headquarters in Pyrmont on International Women’s Day, as women and girls of all ages gathered to celebrate women in technology. The spotlight sparkled on the Tech Girls Movement, a campaign catered towards energising young girls to the possibility of a career in tech.
Founder Jenine Beekhuyzen flew on stage sporting a ruby red cape to introduce the movement, which targets primary and secondary students to battle in an app building competition. The apps must attempt to solve a community problem that has directly affected the members of the team in some sort of way.
“Vocabulary Voyagers” aim to improve spelling ability and expand vocabulary in a fun game-like setting, while “Bye Bye Cultural Bullying” centres around educating people of different cultures and religions to create a more accepting world.
I was lucky enough to sit down with the team of “Reading Republic“, a group of five girls ages nine to eleven, who built an app to encourage reading in primary students.
Code Superhero Sophia Gianotti, an eleven-year-old of St. Philip Neri School, showed me how to use their app, which she and her coding-buddy Claire Lau built using MIT, a Python based app builder.
“I had a lot of fun working with my friends on an app that means so much to us,” Sophia said of her experience with the Tech Girls Movement. “The only bad part was the stress that came along with trying to get things done on time!”
Teams work alongside a mentor in the tech world during a twelve week period to build their app. After the twelve weeks are up, the team must present their app to the Tech Girls Movement to be judged.
Last year, “Reading Republic” finished in first place in the primary student division. Now, they demonstrate their app at events to spread the word of the Tech Girls Movement and inspire other young girls to get involved in tech. In August, the team will be traveling to San Francisco, California to compete in an even larger competition.
The event also celebrated the launch of the Tech Girl Movement’s newest video. The video features Altair, a tech superhero who fights for the equality of men and women. This campaign is apart of the book series, Tech Girls Are Superheroes created by a team headed by Jenine Beekhuyzen.
The books tell the stories of women involved in the coding frontier, including Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper, and Hedy Lamar. They also have stories of tech girl superheroes who solve tech related problems while inspiring young women. In fact, the Tech Girl Movement ensures that a copy of these books exist in all 9,000 Australian schools.
At the end of the event, attendees were encouraged to sign up to mentor a team. By being a mentor, working professionals are able to enlighten young girls to their jobs and watch the girls grow over the 12-week period. Careers with STEM’s own Karen Taylor signed up to mentor a team of her daughter and her daughter’s friends!
– Alyssa DeFalco