If you look at any of the descriptions of an engineer or mathematician or coder in modern social media, what would you see? Typically the answer has been a man with a hoodie typing away at a computer with a sticker of the Star Trek logo on the back. When there is a rare time that a woman is shown, she’s stereotypically cast “the nerd with glasses and the loner-type”. When we see this image on social media and television, it limits the aspirations of women and girls to want to become a part of the tech world. Girls deserve to see their identity and diversity shown and it’s time to change that narrative.
International Women’s Day 2022 introduces the theme of “Break the Bias”, celebrating representation and education, especially in the technology field where, according to Stat Canada, only 23% of women are currently in STEM careers. Hackergal is helping to change this narrative by offering girls the ability to learn how to code and join a community of like-minded individuals. Hackathons, coding clubs, and online events are ways in which girls and young women can connect through personal stories and common interests.
Hackergal’s International Women’s Day Campaign features women in STEM positions providing the opportunity for girls to see themselves portrayed in positive and powerful platforms. This year, Hackergal is featuring 7 strong women in tech: Danielle Rainey, Alia Tayyeb, Azin Moinaddini, Shagun Maheshwari, Chikodili Odinakachukwu, Kishawna Peck, and Hackergal’s own Lucy Ho.
Creating communities where girls feel empowered and can relate to each other is the first step in making STEM and coding accessible to women all over the world. One way that we can help is to create supportive communities where girls and young women can share interests, struggles, and stories in safe spaces. Sharing our experiences as women in STEM helps to encourage others to continue to face challenges head-on and to work together as an empowering community. When we give women and girls the opportunity to connect, we amplify their voices in the technology world. When we celebrate women in STEM, we open opportunities for girls to aspire to enter the world of technology!
As one of our featured women in tech, Shagun Maheshwari says,
“Female-focused communities have been precious as a support system when pursuing ventures in the tech industry. It’s extremely important for women to have a safe space where they can be open about the struggles and challenges they face and help one another out. I believe creating such communities is one of the most valuable things one can do to help one another and #BreakTheBias in the tech industry”.
The celebration of girls and women is not only for the month of March, #BreakTheBias is an everyday movement at Hackergal as we strive to remove gender barriers for girls and young women interested in tech.