On 23 February 2018, sixty Grade 10 learners from Lofentse Girls High in Soweto participated in a DigiGirlz event at the Orlando Pirates ICT Resource Centre.
A panel of four young black female Microsoft staff members spoke to the girls about how they got started in their STEM careers, which subjects they took at university and what they are now responsible for at Microsoft. This was inspirational as the DigiGirlz could see some of the possibilities for women who pursue careers in technology. The panel also helped to debunk some of the myths around what type of people code.
After being inspired by the speakers, the DigiGirlz had an opportunity to try out an Hour of Code for themselves, using the Minecraft themed tutorials available at code.org/minecraft. Although none of the girls had tried coding before, and Information technology and Computer Applications Technology are not offered at their schools – a number of girls completed all twelve levels of the tutorial in an hour.
Whilst only 43% of the participants reported having an interest in a career in technology before attending the DigiGirlz event; 98% of the DigiGirlz said they were now interested in a career in technology after attending the event.
According the the DigiGirlz – these were some of the highlights of the event:
“The best part is to learn that coding is not about computers,it is actually about collaborating and discussing your ideas with others.”
“The best part was learning more about Microsoft. People from Microsoft gave us career advice on doing what we love.”
“Learning more about technology and its fields. i enjoyed playing the hour of code , it was challenging, interesting and most importantly it was a mind opening game.”
You can read more about this event on the Orlando Pirates blog.