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International Girls in ICT Day 2024: Empowering girls to lead in the digital era

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Group of five female computer science students attending our Tech for Success event.

Since 2014, the academic focus in English technology curriculum has shifted from ICT to computing, emphasising the growing importance of computer science, coding, and computational thinking and the demand for skilled professionals in navigating complex technological landscapes. Despite the decline in the term 'ICT' amongst the chatter of school teachers and leaders, International Girls in ICT Day (April 25) remains significant for discussing pedagogical and social evolution, championing broader participation in technical subjects.

This year, the international campaign's theme is leadership, highlighting the need for more women role models in STEM careers - something that we place at the heart of our wider educational goals through the I Belong programme and the Computing Ambassadors scheme.

So, how can you empower girls to become leaders of fulfilling technical careers long-term?

Promote role models in the classroom

You can't be what you can't see, and this is why role models are essential to improving the uptake of girls into computing from school and beyond.

That's why we've collaborated with STEM Ambassadors to launch our Computing Ambassadors initiative. This volunteer programme enables schools to invite computing professionals and tech industry workers into the classroom to ignite inspiration and interaction among students around the subject of career paths and skill development.

Our growing community of Ambassadors are pivotal role models that help make computing, and the countless opportunities available to students who explore this subject, more visible.

We spoke to one of our Computing Ambassadors, Tracy, about why she finds it so important to have more female role models in the wider tech field:

"I feel strongly about introducing more women into tech and especially in leadership. They bring special areas of empathy and understanding and are excellent mentors."

You can host a Computing Ambassador for various activities, such as establishing coding/STEM clubs, arranging workplace visits, and aiding student events.

Introduce real-life applications of computing

Bringing computing to life is central to making the subject, and therefore long-term careers in technology, more appealing and engaging to girls. Speaking to one of our I Belong Champions, Martin, he tells us why it is so valuable for girls to see the tangible opportunities that can emerge from the subject.

"It is...important for girls to understand that careers linked to computer science are open to them, so that they can start to consider different careers that they potentially had not considered beforehand that they may be more suited towards. It is also important from an industry point of view as the girls can bring innovative ideas to the industry to help drive technology forward."

Some ways that you can start to introduce engaging, real-life examples of computing include:

Encourage your students into mentoring

Peer-led mentoring programs in computer science can greatly enhance girls' enthusiasm, confidence, and achievements. These initiatives foster communities and support networks, encourage STEM interests, and allow students to gain invaluable insights into the industries that are open to them.

Our free national online mentoring scheme, in partnership with The Brightside Trust, is designed to help 13-19-year-olds explore their future career options. By chatting with trained and experienced STEM professionals, your students can:

  • ask for careers advice
  • learn more about potential careers
  • consider life after school, including education at university, apprenticeships, or preparing for employment

Sign up before the 10 June to get your students involved in the next round of the programme!

Despite ICT's evolution into computing, International Girls in ICT Day amplifies the importance of female leadership and role models in STEM. By championing role models and mentorship, in addition to promoting accessible and engaging examples of computing in everyday life, we can ensure that every girl has the chance to thrive, innovate, and lead in the world of technology for years to come.