The World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report finds that gender parity is still over 200 years away, and while we know that gender parity won’t happen overnight – the good news is that across the world, women are making positive gains day by day. In view of this, Microsoft has partnered with Grab, Johnson & Johnson, LinkedIn, and Shell to launch this year’s DigiGirlz 2018 – and aptly so on March 8, which is International Women’s Day.
Given women’s current low participation in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), and for women not to be left out of the jobs of the future, Microsoft wants to encourage more girls to pursue STEM. With the hopes of getting girls to meet role models and engaging in hands-on activities, they too can #MakeWhatsNext by addressing future challenges that can impact people and change the world.
Last year, DigiGirlz focused on two major areas: that “Computational Thinking” is an essential skill set in the digital economy, and that being Future-Ready is crucial in today’s Digital Age.
Defined as a thought process that allows one to break down problems and formulate solutions systematically – “Computational Thinking” is developing the skill to figure out how computers “think”, a fundamental skill for the next-generation workforce in every sector including technology.
Furthermore, as a key technology partner for Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) of Singapore’s Digital Maker Programme, Microsoft teamed up with a number partners to engage participating secondary school girls in a variety of coding and design thinking activities. With interactive workshops that centre upon building chatbots or creating worlds in Minecraft, students were immersed in learning the thought logic of everyday technologies – the fundamental hallmark that is required for basic coding skills and knowledge.
This year’s DigiGirlz program is just as insightful, with workshops, such as: “Getting to Know Coding through Computer Vision & Augmented Reality”, by Coding Garage – which aims to present eye-opening opportunities to inspire female students to learn more about coding and its endless possibilities. By teaching them the coding languages of C# and Python, through modern development software (i.e. Visual Studio 2017, Xamarin, and Unity), the girls will be able to get first-hand experience on how code can be used for Facial Recognition, and the application of Augmented Reality.
Furthermore, a panel discussion on the topic of “How Are You Changing The World?” will be held aimed at equipping everyone from the parents, educators and the girls themselves, with a better insight on the roles that they can take up and play in STEM industries, for our future. For a taste of what would be discussed, below are some of the questions the various panellists will be answering:
- How are you making a positive impact and transform people’s lives, using Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM)?
- How do you think women in the workforce bring a different perspective that fosters innovation?
- Many of the jobs that young people will have tomorrow do not exist today. What is your piece of advice for girls and boys who want to dream big and prepare themselves for a great future?
Held at LinkedIn’s office in Singapore (Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 2, 10 Marina Blvd, Singapore 01898), the program will be open to both students and educators! Refer to the table below for the full timeline of events!
So what are you waiting for? If you know, or are a girl aged 15 to 19, and have the interest to venture in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) areas in the future, Microsoft would like to invite you to join them in the DigiGirlz event on March 8, International Women’s Day.
Register here, and hurry as there are limited seats are available!
Photos and visuals courtesy of Microsoft Singapore.