Inspiring IT camp for Moldovan girls
Moldova / Freedom for Equality / 12 oct 2017
Girls from across Moldova wrote code for robots, created their first webpage and used a 3D printer to print their own designs at the GirlsGoIT summer camp in Chisinau, as part of an initiative to build girls’ skills and confidence in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects. The 65 participants were also inspired to stand up to domestic violence and cyber violence, during a session ran by UN Women with speaker Maia Taran, a survivor of violence and “Positive Champion”, inspiring other women survivors of domestic violence to seek help.
The summer camp is in its third iteration, inviting girls from 13 regions of Moldova, with a mission to provide girls with access to, and education in, technology. Participants were able to build confidence in a supportive environment, “I used to think I was not good at technologies. But my classmate Vlada convinced me that I could do it,” said Sabina Brinza, one of the participants. The girls were also able to visit several prominent technology companies and find out for themselves the kinds of opportunities that are available in the fast-moving and diverse field. Ileana Crudu, a previous participant of the summer camp, was particularly inspired by her experience, and has since become a mentor for this year’s participants, “GirlsGoIT has led me to choose technology for my career and now I want to contribute to the advancement of other Moldovan girls in the field of ICT,” she says. Ileana now studies Artifical Intelligence at University in The Netherlands and is one of the few female students in her class.
Perpetuated gender stereotypes, a lack of visible role models and gender bias all play a role in the lack of women taking up STEM subjects in school and going on to take up STEM careers. Furthermore, the changing shape of work indicates that there will be far more technology-based roles in the future. Initiatives like GirlsGoIT are vitally important to equip and inspire girls so that they may have an equal chance to pursue these exciting careers.