Happy New Year to all in our Tech Girls Movement community!
Let us start by asking, ‘what are your STEM goals for 2018?’
We are delighted to start the year with notification that our important research is being published in a top European academic journal, after being through a peer-review process over the last three years. The research based on the work by my Ph.D. student Elena Gorbacheva at the University of Muenster, examined high quality published academic literature on gender and technology. Specifically, it provides a critical review of the research published in Information Systems to date, and uses this as a basis to propose a research agenda for the future, including specific research questions that researchers in the field of gender and technology could pursue further.
I joined Elena on this project back in 2012 after a chance meeting with her supervisor at a conference in Barcelona, where I won the most innovative research award called the Claudio Ciborra Award for the most innovative research (my Ph.D work). Out of that conference, this wonderful relationship with Elena formed. Elena then joined the rest of my research team (here in Australia) based at Deakin University, and we’ve published many papers over the last six years together, mostly evaluating the Go Girl, Go For IT outreach event for Victorian secondary schools.
Why this is particularly important for us is that Elena is one of our original Tech Girl Superheroes, featured in the original orange book as Equita. Another reason this is important is because this paper has been a struggle to publish. The topic of gender, within the academic discipline that we’re in, is not a widely accepted topic to study, and the value of it is often not seen. Therefore, we see this as a significant achievement to be able to publish this work in a high-quality outlet and to get it in the hands of the people who should be reading it.
Why this is so important to us is because research is key. The reason we believe the Tech Girls are Superheroes campaign has been so successful, so quickly, is because it is based on research that my colleagues Sue, Liisa, Annemieke, Jo, Julie, Catherine, Anitza and Elena, and others have all been doing over the past 20 years. This research states two main barriers to girls engaging in STEM: lack of visible female role models and a lack of understanding of what technology people do.
I’ve been fortunate to be a part of a variety of teams across different universities looking at girls and women across the STEM pipeline. From school-aged, through to university, and across industries. We have collectively examined the barriers to firstly engage, but then to also keep people in STEM education and careers.
We feel that an important contribution to the work that we undertake at the Tech Girls Movement is to have a comprehensive understanding of the research literature, as well as an understanding of the barriers to participation of women within technology and IT industries.
Author: Dr Jenine Beekhuyzen, our Founder & CEO, who is also the founder and CEO of Adroit Research, a research consulting company which specialises in improving the quality and reputation of qualitative research.