Last week, we had the privilege of joining Councillor Wong-Tam and Minister Matthews at the #LadiesLearningCode Summer Camp Demo Day presentation. Between August 8th - 12th, girls - aged 7-9 - came together to learn about digital drawing. Over the course of the week, the girls learned different skills and were exposed to a variety of design tools in order to build their very own websites. The sites were as diverse and creative as the girls themselves - showcasing the personalities and talents of each camper.
Earlier in the week, the girls joined us at the Architech office to learn about wireframing, design layout, and different platform requirements. Our Senior Art Director, Kateryna, taught the girls about creative strategy, the importance of accessible design, and how to account for different user needs when designing a website or mobile app. It was fantastic having the girls join us - and, the visit got us thinking.
As the world progresses to a more technology-focussed social and professional landscape, cultivating digital literacy from an early age becomes increasingly important. As Minister Matthews mentioned in her address on Demo Day, presently, digital skills and coding are not part of the school curriculum. At Architech, we see this as a significant gap. How can we prepare our girls and women for success if we don’t give them the tools?
The stats around female engagement in higher education and the science, technology, engineering, mathematics and computer science (STEM) workforce are also concerning. According to the National Household Survey (NHS)1, men aged 25 to 34 with STEM degrees not only graduated from their programs in higher proportions but also experienced lower unemployment rates, higher wages, and a lower rate of job mismatch than their non-STEM counterparts. Not surprisingly, this statistic does not apply to their female counterparts.
While we know that girls and women are significantly underrepresented in the tech (and STEM) workforce, it’s still difficult to determine how to begin closing this gender gap. But, what we do know is that programs like Girls Learning Code and the catalogue of coding classes offered by Ladies Learning Code help girls see technology in a totally new way – as a means for self-expression and as a way to contribute to building the future. This is exactly why Architech is so proud to partner with and sponsor this incredible organization! We know that things won’t change overnight, but programs like these are key to building confidence and skills for girls and women so that they might see themselves as contributors and not just consumers of technology.