Let’s think for a second, how many inventors can you name? How many of them are female? We asked these girls the same question
The World Economic Forum predicted in 2014 that it would take until 2095 to achieve global gender parity. Then one year later in 2015, they estimated that a slowdown in the already glacial pace of progress meant the gender gap wouldn’t close entirely until 2133.
It’s time we not only celebrate female inventors, including Ava Lovelace – the world’s first computer programmer, but inspire and encourage young women to harness their skills to enter and succeed in a field of their passion.
To celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March, we’re continuing our commitment to closing the gender gap in computer science, as well as honouring women’s accomplishments and innovations. We’re calling on girls all over the world to get curious and #MakeWhatsNext in technology.
To help them on their way, we’re hosting dozens of events for girls around the world and in the Microsoft stores in March and April, as part of the Microsoft YouthSpark initiative to create access to computer science education for all youth. Thousands of female school students will gather at our offices, the community centers managed by our YouthSpark nonprofit partners, or the Microsoft stores to talk about what they could achieve with computer science and get them excited about the possibilities.
We’re launching an online portal with computer science resources for girls, including a new curriculum for teachers, parents, young people or anyone to host their own DigiGirlz event, and inspirational “maker” stories from young women empowered by Microsoft.
We want to help empower the next generation of women with the knowledge, skills and resources needed to become creators in a world where technology is embedded into every aspect of life.
There is also a new patent programme focused on inviting select female inventors to receive support in patenting their ideas, many of whom will be selected through our global Imagine Cup competition. Not only is this programme unique to the industry, it empowers young women to realise their achievements and what’s possible in a future career.
Computer science is in many ways the new literacy. Just as maths and reading are fundamental skills for succeeding at school and work, computer science is quickly becoming a basic skill that is required to understand the way today’s tech-fueled world works. Furthermore, computer science continues to grow in relevance across industries – name one business, hospital or school that doesn’t rely on computers or technology. Yet, women remain underrepresented in the field of technology– due to lack of awareness, ingrained stereotypes and access to resources. Let’s break down those barriers.
For those who want to host their own activity to inspire girls to get interested in STEM and computer science in particular, there are online resources to access free coding tutorials, download a toolkit to host local coding events, and read inspiring stories at MakeWhatsNext.com. Join our #MakeWhatsNext movement and help us empower girls today, to create tomorrow’s innovations that will change the world.
To learn more about Microsoft YouthSpark, which includes DigiGirlz and other programmes, please visit this link.