17 Nov 2017 | 12.07 pm
Vodafone Backing #CodeLikeaGirl
School workshops for teenage girls
17 Nov 2017 | 12.07 pm
Vodafone has joined with CodeFirst: Girls in a new initiative which aims to teach teenage girls how to code, under the hashtag #CodeLikeaGirl, with support from Technology Ireland and the Women’s Network.
The coding workshops take place over the course of a week and are delivered by Vodafone employees. They will provide female students with basic knowledge of computer languages and development programmes, with the aim of building a website on completion.
The first workshop took place from November 6 to 10 and was attended by 20 girls from Cabinteely Community School, ranging in age from 14 to 16. Further workshops in schools across Ireland are planned for early next year.
It is estimated that more than 120,000 people in Ireland work directly in roles requiring STEM experience but just one in four of those are women. In 2015 only 5.3% of Leaving Certificate engineering students were girls and boys outnumbered girls 3:1 in technology subjects.
UNESCO this year expressed concerns that “female participation is falling in a field that is expanding globally”. Men dominate the number of STEM graduates in most countries. In 2014, around 22% of UK graduates in science, mathematics and computing were women. The gap was wider in Germany (19.3%), France (21.5%) and Switzerland (14.7%). In the United States, women make up around a quarter of those in STEM occupations. STEM fields also have fewer women on boards than any other sectors.
Vodafone human resources director James Magill said: “In recent years, there has been significant progress in closing the global gender gap in various aspects of society. However, in many countries, the gap is widening in STEM careers.
“#CodeLikeaGirl aims to help close that gap here in Ireland and show young girls that a future in STEM is an exciting prospect. We know that coding is going to play an even bigger role in careers in the future so it’s important that we empower young women to learn this skill while at school.”
Teacher Melissa McGuirk of Cabinteely Community School said: “The reaction from our students has been truly remarkable. Vodafone Ireland’s #CodeLikeaGirl initiative offers young females the unmissable opportunity to get involved in the creation and development of technology and to experience first-hand the workings of a coder.
“By the end of the week, each of these teenagers proudly produced a fully functional, coded website. These classes are crucial in providing a stepping stone for Ireland’s next generation of female STEM specialists and inspiring them to embark on a thriving career path.”
Code First: Girls is a social enterprise which works with companies and women to increase the proportions of women in tech, by running free coding courses for young women and paid coding courses for men and women, by advising companies on tech talent, and by running a community of more than 5,500 women who are interested in technology.
Photo: (From left) Laura Fidgeon, Nadine Clarke, James Magill, Jessica McGarry and Abbey Corcoran (Pic: Naoise Culhane)