Girl Up was founded by the United Nations in 2010 and since then has been working through projects around the world to achieve gender equality. They have created various ways in which people internationally can come together and defend the rights of females. Some of their programs include advocacy, fundraising, leadership and STEAM and STEM workshops. STEM – the study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – and STEAM are almost identical in their pursuit, though the latter includes the Arts as well. The Girl Up movement hopes to encourage girls into careers in the technology industries.
Girl Up in Australia
The global movement had its first Australian summit in September 2019 in Sydney at The Women’s College. Ashleigh De Silva, Girl Up’s first regional leader, stated that the movement started in Sydney in 2018 and currently holds over 300 members. With an
interview with CIO magazine, De Silva stated, “Girl Up is really passionate about getting girls into STEM because that’s something that’s been very male dominated for a very long time. So it’s great to get girls into that industry – it starts from the grassroots when girls are still in school and it’s important to foster that interest.”
Event speaker, Eliza Dawes, head of marketing for GitHub APAC, challenged summit attendees by asking, “So why choose something like STEM? If you want to change gender equality or fight climate change, STEM gives you the skills where you can actually do something about it. Without science or the ability to look at the data and collaborate with your colleagues, it’s difficult to really make an active change. There are lots of ways to do it, but STEM gives you the ability to create change in the world and solve problems.”
Australian girls in STEM
Australia’s STEM population is
greatly made up of males. Women comprised only 17% of the qualified STEM population in 2016 and made up only 31% of the total number of STEM academics in 2016. Only 18% of Biology professors are female and this trend also continues in Engineering, seeing only 12.4% of the workforce there as female. The IT industry also is facing a similar issue with females making up 28% of the workforce in 2017.
STEMmates for girls in STEM
Like Girl Up, STEMmates hopes to encourage learners of all genders to defend gender equality and to become involved in STEM subjects. Through our hands-on courses and activity-based learning, we hope to spark an interest in young learners that will continue with them late into their careers. Get your child involved in our STEM courses today through our
Facebook and website pages. Because when girls rise, we all rise!
Florence Violet Mckenzie, or Mrs Mac, as she was more affectionately known as, was born in 1890 and would devote the bigger part of her life to engineering in Australia. Unlike many of her male counterparts, Florence’s name is barely recognized around the country despite her service to it. McKenzie was Australia’s very first electrical engineer, first female amateur radio operator and she also later became the founder of the Electrical Association for Women.
During World War II, Florence created the Women’s Emergency Signaling Corps and some of her trainees were asked to work for the Royal Australian Navy. Her original idea was to train women to learn communications so that the men could serve the country in the war. The project was eventually known as the Women’s Royal Australian Naval Service. She also trained about 12,000 servicemen in her Morse code training school. Between 1918 and 1934, she had her own successful electrical contracting and wireless supplies business and here, all her work was done pro bono.
McKenzie was also in correspondence with Albert Einstein in the years from 1949 leading up to the time he died. She would send him letters and gifts from all over the world, brought to her by her airline pilot friends.
Later elected a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Navigation and a Member of the Royal Naval Amateur Radio Society, when she died in 1982, she said,
“…it is finished, and I have proved to them all that women can be as good as, or better than men.”
Not everything was smooth sailing for Florence and her signalling “girls in green”. She had to design a uniform for them to make it very clear to the rest of the world that their service and motive was true. The navy also had to be convinced to let them work, and later, kept them a secret.
STEM Superwomen of today
STEM refers to science, technology, math and engineering. More and more companies and organizations from all industries are realizing the importance of women taking charge and joining STEM industries.
For example, earlier this year, the Bauer Media, the owner of brands like Women’s Weekly, ELLE and Harper’s Bazaar, joined forces with Elucent Skincare to find the next
STEM superwoman. They advertised an AUD$20,000 grant for the winning participant who would join Elucent Skincare’s microbiologist Alexandra Kite in her work as a beauty scientist.
STEMmates’ goal is to empower all the children, male or female, that pass through our doors, to become the supermen and superwomen that they are.
Our courses are designed to teach them skills that will follow them into their adult years.
Give your child the chance to wear that cape today. Sign up for our STEM courses through our
Facebook and website pages.
In 2008, the Women Who Tech non-profit organization was formed with hopes of supporting women involved with technology and to inspire other females to do the same. They also exist to try and get more funding for women-based start-ups.
Through their organization, they launched the Women Start-up Challenge, that is now held around USA and Europe. The challenge is a platform for female entrepreneurs in technology fields and so far, they have managed to raise over US$25 million. At the moment, only about
7% of investor funding goes to start-ups run by women and only 11% of the executives in Silicon Valley are women. Today, there are many other organizations like Women Who Tech run by empowered women all over the world.
In another example, Chiara Condi from France, who works with the organization Led By Her, is working with others to ensure that women affected by violence have a safe space to become entrepreneurs. She is currently working with top French business schools to provide a nine-month-long entrepreneurship program for women and is also giving away the courses for free to many. She is currently writing a manual to help entrepreneurs along the process from start to launch.
Women in tech and management
The Australian federal government is also backing women in technology. Recently they launched a 10-year plan to usher more women into STEM fields, which refers to the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. They also allocated AUD$3.4 million to improve the status of STEM equity in Australia.
many other people and entrepreneurs in STEM industries that agree that more women should be in management positions and should be encouraged to succeed. A study by Deloitte showed that women should play a bigger part in creating the products and services that will help drive the economy of the future.
The myth about women in tech
There has been a
widespread myth that women are not inclined to STEM subjects because they are too math and science related, where women are more creative-minded. This is a fallacy, simply because programming, coding, experimenting and problem-solving are all related to creativity.
STEMmates and tech
STEMmates promotes our STEM-related courses to both males and females from a young age. We hope to encourage all children to build their knowledge not only of STEM subjects but of soft skills too.
Analytical mindsets, critical thinking, communication skills and self-confidence are other values that our students emerge from our courses with. Thus, making sure that all the boys and girls that pass through our classes are ready to take on this technology-obsessed world.
Find out how to get your child involved through our
Facebook and website pages.