Microsoft DigiGirlz and Barbie: Inspiring Girls to Engage with Science and Technology

Editor’s note, Nov. 18, 2010 –
The article below was corrected to indicate that the speakers at the event included California State Senator Elaine Alquist and not Nora Campos as previously indicated.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — November 18, 2010 — Barbie has a diverse resume — she’s been a doctor, a teacher and a chef; she’s raced cars for NASCAR and trained Shamu for Sea World. Now, Barbie can add computer engineer to her list of careers. But Computer Engineer Barbie is in the minority. In the real world, women earn only 18 percent of all computer science degrees, even though they represent more than 50 percent of the population on U.S. college campuses. And only 10 percent of American engineers today are women.

Check out the slide show below for highlights of yesterday’s event.

As part of its efforts to address this disparity through the DigiGirlz program, Microsoft joined forces with Mattel and the Girl Scouts of Northern California to encourage young girls to explore computer science careers. On Wednesday, more than 200 Girl Scouts, community leaders, government officials and Microsoft employees came to Microsoft Silicon Valley for the DigiGirlz Summit.

At the summit, a class of more than 20 Girl Scouts completed a computer and online training class to earn their Computer Smarts badges. Female Microsoft employees were on hand to help and talk about their experience. Afterwards, a panel of women from the tech, government and academic sectors spoke about best practices for encouraging girls and women to pursue tech-related careers, and Lisa Brummel, senior vice president of Human Resources at Microsoft, announced an ongoing partnership with the Girl Scouts of Northern California to support its Girls Go Tech program.

Other speakers included Lucy Sanders, CEO and co-founder, National Center for Women & Information Technology; Elaine Alquist, California state senator; Christy Quinlan, acting state chief information officer, state of California; Maya Haridasan, senior research development engineer, Microsoft Research; and Marie Wilson, founder and president, The White House Project.

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