Support Microsoft DigiWahine in Empowering the Next Generation of Technology Leaders

 |   Microsoft New Zealand News Centre

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With a successful rollout in 2020, Microsoft DigiWahine is excited to host upcoming events throughout 2021 to raise awareness about the careers available in the tech industry and to inspire future innovators. With a focus on Year 9 and 10 girls from Māori and Pasifika backgrounds, DigiWahine strives to dispel stereotypes associated with high tech jobs through mentors, role models, and technical experiences.

Success in 2020

Despite the adversities of piloting DigiWahine in 2020, Microsoft successfully ran the initiative at Manurewa High School in Auckland. The day saw 60 girls, 13 volunteers and 1 robotic dog in attendance.

Activities throughout the day included a feature from Microsoft New Zealand Managing Director, Vanessa Sorenson; a Microsoft employee Q&A panel session; a keynote-speaker; an interactive gaming station on Ngā Motu (Minecraft Education Edition) via Surface technology; the creation of a basic application using Microsoft App Lab; a career development workshop that sought to provide the fundamentals for a profession in tech; and a live-demo of Spot the Robo Dog in action.

Students were abuzz during the day, with feedback including: “I had fun and it was also a great day and I feel lucky to have had this opportunity to listen,” and “I really enjoyed the Minecraft and Kinect. And I loved Spot!”

“I wanted the girls to leave DigiWahine with three key learnings. You don’t have to a be a ‘techie’ to work in tech,” says the keynote speaker for DigiWahine 2020, Julia Arnott-Neenee, Director of Strategy & Insights at The Spinoff and Co-founder and Director of PeopleForPeople NZ. “There are innate cultural qualities that we hold that are needed and celebrated in tech. Finally, our Māori and Pacific values, traits and identities are our superpower.”

“Our Māori and Pasifika communities are people-oriented, so putting in the effort to sit with them and breaking the barriers of being an employee at Microsoft but also a person who cares about their future really does show,” says Anita Mani, HR Program Manager for Microsoft APAC and a panelist at DigiWahine 2020.

Looking forward

As 2021 unfolds, Microsoft DigiWahine is looking to support young generations of Māori and Pasifika in their career and technology journeys. With numerous visits planned for schools around the North Island, DigiWahine are here to make an impact.

The next event is coming up in April/May and Microsoft needs your help to kick it off with a bang! We are currently looking for externals to support us in the form of physical workshops, speakers, funding, and anything else to help create a positive experience for these young girls.


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