Want More Women in Tech, Grab A Bunch of High School Girls

rafranzdavis Professional Growth 0 Comments

I’m working diligently on a book about the missing voices of edtech, which is a look at diversity from multiple lenses. Every time I think that I might just be finished, a new layer shows itself. A few weeks ago  Stephanie Sandifer, in all of her twitter “rant” greatness, kicked off “INVITE“, a facebook group aimed at tackling the issues of diversity at edtech conferences. There was no way that I could publish a book without including this because the impact of that conversation was so hugely inclusive and important… that leaving it out would have been blasphemous, in my opinion.

I love that fact that others are coming out of the woodworks to say that not only were they thinking the same thing, but they wanted to help by finding ways to help our community be more inclusive. I also love that so many have said that they had not even realized that this was an issue and were willing to listen. It’s easy to sit and complain about what’s wrong in a situation but to purposefully discuss and listen is the only way that change begins.

Warrior Women in Tech

A little over a month ago, another tech in my office told me about a new high school tech club aimed at women in technology. I made contact and through twitter connected with the student initiator of the group. She’s an amazing young lady who loves technology and had her own vision to change the landscape of it. With the encouragement of a teacher, she started a club at her school aimed at women in tech. Thinking that very few girls would show, she was pleasantly surprised to find that 24 girls were interested.

24 girls from disproportionate computer science classes were not only interested in the club but also wanted to change the world.

Their first order of business was to encourage more girls by reaching out to their junior high feeder schools. Once a week, the ladies of “Warrior Women in Tech” teach coding to a room full of junior high girls. You could not sit in that room and NOT “get” why such a venture was necessary. The conversations that these girls were having, the relationships that they were building and the skills that they were learning…were possible because of being in an environment created to cater to their needs. I have never been as inspired in my entire life at seeing a room full of middle school girls learning to code apps from high school girls.

I talked to them about blogging and sharing their story. Last night, a blog was created. We even talked about video which I’m sure will be on the way. Another project that the ladies of WWIT are doing is building an app aimed to have impact on their community. This is a part of the technovation contest where teams of girls compete in coding activities.

Technovation

How can you NOT be inspired? Perhaps my greatest takeaway from the entire evening was learning that 24 girls got together to change the world and they are doing it with skills that their passions have led them to learn…on their own.

Empowered by one teacher and their google apps account, the world became their classroom. The world, within reach of the tips of their fingers, is theirs to disrupt and we all get to witness it.

So, maybe the answer to getting more women in tech was right in front of us all along. They’re sitting in classrooms waiting on permission to be the change.

Now, with pleasure, I get to rewrite this portion of my book.

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