Following on from my post about BETT, I mentioned that one of the challenges I raised in my talk was that of encouraging girls into the IT/Tech industry. As many of you will have already read, I recently launched Geeky Barbie’s Travels; a site dedicated to my mascot “Geeky Barbie”, which documents interviews with real women in the IT industry. It is hoped that girls will be able to read about the wide variety of jobs available and find inspiration in some of the stories, they may even consider a career in the industry themselves. Here’s where I need some help! I have a flyer here, which can be printed and handed out to girls in schools, I would love it if some of you would download and distribute to girls in your own schools!
I recently attended an event in Margate called GEEK (Games Expo East Kent) and it was very apparent from looking around that the event was very male dominated. Myself and Geeky Barbie had a great time, I particularly enjoyed playing with the BBC Micros and reminiscing over old computer games. There was also an array of various arts and crafts on show too; I was rather impressed with the paper-craft video game and TV characters and I’m actually going to have a go at making Sackboy this weekend! (I’ll tweet a picture of the final product!)
Attending this event got me wondering where all the girls were! Why was I in the minority? Speaking to the girls in my school, most of them are more interested in pop stars and surfing the Net rather than using computers in a more creative way; many of them want to pursue what we would regard as traditional “women’s jobs”, hairdresser, beautician, nursery nurse, midwife etc. I’ve decided that if I’m going to persuade them to consider a career in the IT industry I am first going to need to learn what is putting them off from the start! They generally seem to enjoy ICT in Key Stage 3 and even Key Stage 4, but when it comes to their sixth form options they just don’t opt-in. Across three new A-Level groups this year I only have one girl! Which is my lowest number ever! I want to know what puts them off. In my school most of the IT teachers are actually women too so they do have some positive role models.
My next intention in my Geeky-Barbie crusade is to compose a questionnaire to carefully try to work out why girls turn-off from the subject, why they don’t seem to see it as a viable career option. This is where I need some more help, I know if I write the questionnaire on my own I’ll miss out a vital question and I want to get it right. Therefore I’d be REALLY grateful if any of my readers could comment below with suggestions of questions I could include. I’ll then share the questionnaire online so teachers can carry out the survey in their own schools too.
Please do help with question ideas, I really want this to be as comprehensive as possible! Also please share this with others who may be able to help!
Thanks for reading!