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About Tech Girls – and why it matters…

It’s a well-known fact that women are significantly underrepresented in the IT industry so it’s fortunate that there are many programmes within the industry and educational sectors to promote STEM to young women.

About Tech Girls – and why it matters…

One such endeavour is the Australia-based Tech Girls Movement. Part of this programme is their annual ‘Search for the Next Tech Girl Superhero’ competition where teams of girls aged 7-17 are matched with a female mentor. Working together over 12 weeks, the teams identify a problem within their community and work to resolve it using technology. The girls follow a structured course that includes undertaking market and financial research, project planning, developing a business plan, creating demo and marketing videos, and of course developing their app. It exposes the girls to the different aspects of IT.

Using mentors obviously provides the girls with guidance through the competition but also literally puts in front of them the very real possibilities they have in the future - of successful women leveraging their STEM knowledge and experience. 

Intergen is well known for our participation in many STEM focused projects and many female Intergenites have stepped up to mentor teams all across the country. This year the two New Zealand finalist teams were mentored by two Christchurch-based Intergenites.

Soliana Admasu mentored the team Dunedin’s St. Hilda’s Collegiate. Her team developed ‘Sussdaynable’, an app that helps minimise food wastage by allowing the users to enter the items in their fridge and suggesting a recipe that can use all those items as ingredients to prepare a meal. Their community focus was food wastage; by creating this app they hoped to help tackle the problem of unnecessary food wastage by giving people ways to use up all their left-over food. 

I mentored the team from Christchurch’s Villa Maria College. My team developed ‘Bi-Schooling’, an app that promotes a healthy lifestyle through bicycling. The app teaches children road cycle safety but also allows users to create and share mapped routes so others can join them – biking together for fun and for safety.

Ultimately the team from Villa Maria went on to become the New Zealand winner. This was the girls’ second year competing and they definitely benefited from previous experience. A lot of hard work and effort paid off!

Soliana and I were encouraged to participate by others within in the company who had mentored in previous years. We thoroughly enjoyed working with these young women and were often surprised how very capable and confident they were already. These girls displayed a spark of innovation and motivation, and we had the opportunity to work with young teenage women that already had a good idea of who they were and what they wanted. Well ahead of where we were at their age!

As mentors we also spent time together discussing our teams’ ideas, progress and how to tackle the different technical and real-life business problems each team faced. As a team ourselves we were both skilled in the different areas. Soliana’s technical knowledge and my commercialisation experience were a perfect fit. A further example of women in technology coming together for success!

We would definitely encourage anyone to participate in programs for youth, especially supporting women of any age, in IT. Education in technology creates so many opportunities and varied career paths where women can excel. They just need to be made aware of them, see IT in action and step forward.

Certainly through our careers, and in our own time at Intergen, so many of our own success stories include standing on the shoulders of other women who have made their way to the top. They then have broken those ceilings and then reached back and pulled us forward.

Posted by: Rashne Nariman, Resourcing Manager | 16 October 2018

Tags: Career, Women in Tech

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