As the saying goes, if you can’t see it, you can’t be it.
To give girls developing an interest in STEM a close role model to look up to, Girl Geek Academy has developed a series of workshops to get young girls coding together with a close woman in their life, whether it be their mother, aunt, grandparent, neighbour, or friend.
Sarah Moran, CEO of Girl Geek Academy, said the organisation recognised the lack of STEM-based programs that educate both girls and women in the same classroom.
“[W]e know the exponential value of working to build intergenerational STEM knowledge. By bringing women and girls together into one workshop, we are able to create something more vital and long-lasting – an instant role model within their immediate family,” she said.
“By upskilling the women parents and guardians, the girls have a role model in their household who shows confidence and interest in technology, and can work with them on coding games and STEM schoolwork. It could also be an opportunity for the women to explore a new career path option if they wish to cross-skill into this in-demand profession.”
The #MissMakesCode workshops will run around Victoria in January and March, with support from regional women’s health promotion agency Women’s Health East.
They are part of Free From Violence, the Victorian Government’s strategy to prevent family violence and all forms of violence against women.
With advancing gender equality one of Women’s Health East’s key priorities, the workshops will focus on both technical coding skills, as well as discussions around gender equality and cyber safety.
“It’s a privilege to partner with Women’s Health East on this initiative. Studies have shown societies with more gender equality have decreased rates of family violence, because it creates a society based on respect,” Moran said.
“Gender equality affects everyone, men and women, and should be a priority both in the workplace and in the home.”
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 25 percent of women have experienced emotional abuse by a current or former cohabiting partner, while one in six women in Australia have been subjected to physical or sexual violence by a current or former cohabiting partner, compared with one in 19 men.
The workshops are just one initiative Girl Geek Academy has on the go.
The organisation late last year partnered with Deloitte Digital and 99designs to launch a week-long work experience program for year 10 students.
The week saw 40 girls from Korowa Anglican Girls School spent a week at OneRoof, a women-centric coworking space in Melbourne’s Southbank. After two days learning from industry experts, they then spent two days building a startup in teams of three before pitching to their classmates.
Image: the Girl Geek Academy team. Source: Supplied.