It’s become a widely accepted belief that the best way to arrive at some semblance of a gender balance in the tech world in the future is to change attitudes about tech and engineering among young girls today.
Melbourne Girls Grammar has taken this idea on board and decided to do something about it, announcing that it’s sending 60 girls aged 11 to 13 to the US on its inaugural Middle Years Science and Enterprise Tour in April.
The 13 day tour aims to show the girls that there can be an exciting future for them in STEM fields. Taking the students along the West Coast, the tour will include visits to the head office of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, The Chabot Space Station, San Francisco’s Exploratorium, and Google’s headquarters. They will also attend the student conference Young Women for Enterprise and Innovation in Palo Alto.
Melbourne Girls Grammar stated that the objective of the tour is to “challenge each girl’s thinking about the disciplines of marine biology, physics, information and communications technology and entrepreneurship and will encourage her to value the innovative work of others as well as aspire to develop this attribute within her.”
The school was assisted by a representative of the US Consulate in the organisation of the tour, after US Consul General to Australia Amy Hyatt heard about the trip.
Mary-Lou O’Brien, director of e-learning at Melbourne Girls Grammar, said the school is fortunate to have the opportunity to engage girls with STEM at such a young age.
“Starting at the higher levels is far more difficult but if they are led to believe that playing with technology, engineering, coding and robotics is completely normal for girls, they grow up not just believing but actually knowing that they can do anything,” O’Brien said.
The school also runs extra curricular activities like a Coding Club, Techie Club, and STEM-related programs in the school holidays.