Closing the IT gender gap: tech conference

Tuesday, 02 August, 2022

Closing the IT gender gap: tech conference

Tech conference Go Girl, Go For IT will be held in Victoria for girls from over 70 schools around the state.

The conference, which has been recognised by the United Nations, is designed to educate and inspire female students to consider a career in STEAM.

Hosted by not-for-profit organisation Vic ICT For Women at Deakin University’s Burwood campus, the full-day conference will introduce female students from Years 5 to 12 to all the exciting possibilities a career linked to technology can provide, and encourage them to consider a career in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics).

Students attending can expect to participate in workshops; get their hands on the latest cutting-edge gadgets including robots, virtual reality and 3D printers; learn about the varied career options in STEAM; and hear from an array of inspiring female role models. Experimental design zones will enable students to touch, interact and let their creativity shine.

While collective efforts to advance Australian women in ICT are starting to have an impact, women made up fewer than 25% of students studying STEAM in 2019, despite diversity and gender equity being crucial to the capacity of STEAM to drive productivity growth and economic recovery in a post-COVID society.

There is also poor retention of women in STEAM positions. Of the total university-qualified STEAM workforce in 2020, only 29% were women and only 13% held executive positions. Men in Australia are almost twice as likely to be working in a STEAM-qualified occupation compared to their female counterparts five years after graduating.

“Go Girl, Go For IT exposes female students to technology and encourages them to get excited about all the possibilities at an early age,” said Jessica Huynh, volunteer and Managing Director at Go Girl, Go For IT.

“We will be delivering a showcase of STEAM careers designed to put stars in their eyes. We need to help overcome stereotypes and misconceptions, because research has shown that girls as young as 11 years old decide what they’re good and bad at. Go Girl, Go For IT specifically focuses on that age group to help them understand all the possibilities a STEAM career can give them.

“We conducted the previous two years as cyber events, so the prospect of girls getting hands-on with STEAM-related activities for the first time since the 2018 event and being able to inspire and engage with them in person is incredibly important.”

The event is completely free for students in order to remove any barriers to participation. Female students from across inner-city Melbourne, the suburbs and regional areas are converging for this exciting event, with sponsors providing free transport and buses.

Go Girl, Go For IT is for girls in Years 5–12 from metropolitan and regional schools around Victoria. It will be held on 18 August 2022 at the Burwood campus of Deakin University.

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