This week in our on-going mission to interest girls in programming we arranged for four women to come and talk to all of the Year 7 and Year 8 girls at my kids’ High School. Lesson learnt? Lollies are the selling point.
Four delightful women from Atlassian who we got in contact with through the Girls Programming Network generously gave up their time to explain what programming is all about and why it’s a good thing to get involved in. They did a wonderful job. The Year 7 girls were perhaps a more receptive audience – but it’s hard to tell if that has anything to do with the fact they’re a year younger or if it was just a fluke of the group’s make-up.
The thing that was most marked was the enormous level of interest generated in both groups when they saw photos of the lolly-bar in the Atlassian kitchen.
It will be fascinating to see if the talks lead to us getting more girls coming to our girls programming group – for weeks now we’ve been stalled at five participants, when we’re getting over 20 boys to the general lunchtime group. But even if it doesn’t achieve more active participants, it can’t have hurt to have exposed them to some alternate role-models and some greater understanding that there is a very cool side to being involved in IT. And lollies.