The GSMA is supporting ITU International Girls in ICT Day for a sixth year by launching its Tech4Girls programme globally through a series of events at its offices around the world. On 7 May 2019, GSMA Asia Pacific region hosted a Tech4Girls robotics and coding workshop for student girls in its Hong Kong office. Supporting partners included STEMex, the official provider of Engineering for Kids (EFK) from the US, and 2 local schools – Chiu Sheung School and Kwok Man School in Hong Kong
Tech4Girls aims to boost girls’ confidence in their science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills by developing tech and computing products. The workshop consisted of a practical workshop in which 21 girls aged 8 to 11 assembled their own robots and learned how to use coding for robotics automation. Through this workshop, girls will develop their skills in problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and communication. This learning experience will also be the perfect catalyst for them to realize and unleash their full potential in STEM.
According to the American Association of University Women, the percentage of women graduating in computer science has dropped considerably. In 1984 women represented 37 percent of computer science graduates, compared to only 18 percent in 2017. The GSMA Tech4Girls programme aims to reverse this trend and reduce the digital gender gap in the tech industry, generating benefits for women, societies, and economies. One challenge is girls’ limited interest in pursuing tech studies due to a lack of mentors to encourage them and the misconception that this sector is “only for men”. This highlights the need to interest girls in technology at secondary school, or even earlier.
Reducing the digital gender gap in the ICT sector not only helps to improve women’s lives by giving them economic and professional development opportunities; it’s also good for the industry because it broadens the talent base and adds diversity to planning and decisions. At the GSMA we’re deeply committed to this objective and we know we can achieve it only by working with all the key players, both public and private.