Microsoft Netherlands has risen to the challenge of encouraging girls and young women to pursue STEM subjects as part of celebrating Girlsday 2017.
The urgency to educate girls, students and women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics has never been higher. Research undertaken by Microsoft has shown that Dutch girls lose interest in these STEM subjects at the age of 14, thanks to a combination of negativity and lack of confidence in their own skills, and a lack of female role models.
These findings remain consistent across Europe, with many girls losing interest in STEM subjects before they’re old enough to go to university. According to the European Commission, Europe could face a shortage of up to 900,000 skilled information and communication technology workers by 2020.
To help combat these figures, Microsoft Netherlands celebrated Girlsday on April 13 by opening its doors to girls and young women, in a bid to engage with them and get them excited about these vital subjects.
Together with inspirational role models who talked about the opportunities for girls in technology and a full day of workshops, the day was aimed at encouraging girls and young women to embrace technology and for them to consider joining the Microsoft Academy for College Hires (MACH) programme – a customized learning experience designed for new university hires in various full-time roles within Microsoft’s Evangelism, Finance, IT, Marketing, Operations, Sales and Services organisations.
A total of 110 young girls attended a morning session which saw them create micro:bit Milky Monsters and illustrate with Project Prep using Surface devices. This was followed by an afternoon session with 60 female tech students who participated in IoT and PowerBI sessions, along with soft skills workshops. Lastly, 125 professional women participated in the Azure Academy, alongside hard and soft skill workshops.
Microsoft is a firm believer in the role of technology in education, and inspiring girls and young women to choose studies and careers in STEM subjects. With the decline of the number of women in technical studies in the Netherlands and other countries in Europe, Microsoft is eager to invest in a sustainable growth of women in tech, for a more fruitful, equal future for us all.