Tech Girls Movement aims to change the world

Lee-JThe Tech Girls Movement is a very cool initiative that started up in Brisbane with a simple goal to change the world:

The Tech Girls Movement is a non-profit organisation which is going to change the world. Our goal is to support the development of a more diverse IT workforce, ultimately resulting in better technology for society. We do this by encouraging awareness of tech careers with minds that matter – YOURS! We are particularly dedicated to getting more girls into technology studies and careers.

The basic idea is to present role models and the opportunities afforded by technology careers in a refreshing way, through storytelling. The movement is tackling head-on the outdated prevailing stereotype that to work in tech that you need to be a boy, look like a nerd, eat pizza, drink coke and have no social skills. As the Tech Girls say: “This is NOT reality! This is an outdated stereotype, inaccurate in our contemporary society.” So the #TechGirls archetypes show you the different personalities of those who work in the information technology industry.

The Tech Girls are Superheroes site gives you a fairly clear idea of what’s going on, but there’s also a book: Tech Girls Are Superheroes – the book is inspiring for all ages, particularly girls who are shaping their ideas about future careers. The book is free to Australian school-girls.

The Tech Girls Movement is also running a competition to find their next superhero ambassadors. The theme is solving a problem in your local community and prizes, apart from glory, include a chance to go to the US. The competition is running in partnership with Technovation, the world’s largest and longest-running tech competition for girls.

Changing the perceptions of a whole society is no trivial task. There’s no question that the idea of tackling this through storytelling is deeply powerful concept and probably one of the few ways that it is conceivable that deeply ingrained societal norms can be influenced.

I love this initiative, but it does concern me that it’s going to be most appealing to the girls who are most likely to already be interested. I’ve long argued that the core problem with getting girls into coding is not finding interested girls, it’s supporting them to overcome the pressures exerted by parents, friends and schools. Giving them archetypes like the Tech Girl Superheroes is clearly splendid and much-needed, but it needs to be reinforced by the rest of society accepting both the tech girls are superheroes and that they are entirely normal and unexceptional.

But in the meantime, go you Tech Girl Superheroes!

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