In order to break down stereotypes and empower girls and women who want to dedicate their lives to creating technological solutions to solve major problems in society, Microsoft and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Telecommunications (MICITT) announced on Tuesday the sixth edition of the Digigirlz programme.
The initiative aims to provide opportunities for skills development in the areas of science, technology and mathematics (STEAM), to equip the country with the talents required in an increasingly digitalised world and to boost gender equity in these sectors.
The deficit of women in these areas is a global problem: worldwide only 35% of STEAM students in higher education are women and only 3% of women in higher education choose to study information and communication technologies (ICT), according to a UNESCO report. Already in the labour market, the figures are often more worrying: in the technology world, especially in software, female representation is often no more than 10%.
To address this problem, the Presidency of the Republic, the MICITT and Microsoft joined forces in an activity aimed at students, which seeks to inspire, attract, involve and develop more women in these sectors.
The General Manager of Microsoft Central America, Daniel Verswyvel, who will participate in the opening ceremony on Wednesday, said that “only if we are able to reflect all the richness and variety of the world will we be able to detonate the innovation and creativity that technology requires to become a true ally that contributes to solving society’s most pressing problems”.
Ineke Geesink, Country Manager of Microsoft Costa Rica, stated that “it has been proven that part of the deficit of women in these industries and careers has to do with the lack of role models. Therefore, in addition to the activities of interaction with technology, DigiGirlz creates a space for young women to develop skills but also to interact with women leaders in the sector and female references in these industries, so that they can be inspired and plan their professional future with the scientific and technological horizon more present”.
The First Vice President of the Republic and coordinator of the Gender Parity Initiative in Costa Rica, Epsy Campbell, recalled that technology, like all sectors of society, needs diversity and inclusion.
“In addition to making visible the advantages of technological careers and the growing demand for these profiles in the labour market, this Microsoft activity with the support of the MICITT and the Presidency seeks to become a space where girls can experiment in robotics, gaming, coding and computational thinking workshops, while allowing them to meet and talk with outstanding professionals,” said the Vice President.
Finally, the Minister of Science, Technology and Telecommunications, Paola Vega Castillo, stressed that “it is of utmost importance to get girls involved early in technology, especially in digital technologies, where there is a strong underrepresentation of women. We must awaken the interest of girls and young women in these fields, so that they can become co-creators and protagonists of the digital world, and not miss out on the job opportunities of the future.”
This year’s edition of Digirirlz will be different in that it will be open to the public and in its virtual format. All those young women who wish to take part should log in on Wednesday 17 February at: https://aka.ms/DigiGirlzPV
By accessing the link you will have access to a full day of activities, talks and workshops on topics such as the basics of artificial intelligence and machine learning, given by women experts in these fields.
In addition, on Thursday 18 February, Microsoft and its partners will also offer the opportunity to take part in a facial recognition tool programming lab.
This practical laboratory will have a limited number of places, so those interested should register in advance to reserve their space at the following link: https://aka.ms/DigiGirlzLabPV
For both dates the young participants only need to have a computer and a WIFI connection.
DigiGirlz is a programme created by Microsoft and implemented globally. Since its existence in Central America, this initiative has brought hands-on technology workshops, soft skills development activities and inspirational talks to thousands of girls in the region.
Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @Microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of the intelligent cloud and the intelligent environment. Its mission is to empower every person and organisation on the planet to do more.