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Paul Armistead spoke to Jenine (a.k.a. Jewella) in his podcast Disruptive Clarity about two very important things: why aren’t there more girls in tech careers and how do we get more girls in tech?
While studying and teaching in the field of Information Technology, Jenine noticed that something was stopping young women from studying in the areas of STEM and decided to try and find out why this was happening.
Jenine discovered that the research says we lose girls attention and interest in STEM around the age of nine-years-old as this is when the media stereotypes kick in, and in co-ed schools, often boys will be more interested in these subjects than girls. This is exacerbated by a distinct lack of visible female role models and a lack of understanding of what technology people do.
Alongside her teaching, Jenine has been running interventions and programs since 2002; one of these programs is a one-day event that brings girls onto a University campus and exposes them to Women in Tech doing interesting things and using technology in ways that they may not have considered before, as well as talking about their career options. This bi-annual event is called Go Girl, Go For IT.
While running these events, Jenine also took part in researching how the programs were running and more importantly, if they were working. The research team discovered that young women and girls are excited about the application of technology in other areas, not just technology for technology’s sake. Solving real problems – this is something that particularly appeals to girls.
Jenine spoke about the importance of choice in discovering or choosing a career. Events such as the Go Girl, Go For IT event in Melbourne, had a turn-out of nearly 2, 000 girls, exposing them to Women in Tech.
Research has shown that on average, after an event such as Go Girl, Go For IT, 60% of girls were not interested in tech before the event but they were afterwards. Events such as these give young women a choice in STEM that they might otherwise had never known existed.
This all led to the creation of the Tech Girls Movement and the Tech Girls are Superheroes campaign.