WiT Wednesday #4 – Reaching Out to Younger Girls

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been featuring some very influential women in tech.  This week, I want to take a break to focus on some groups that work with women in tech, specifically with the younger demographic.  Since I’ll be speaking on Women in Tech next week at the Avon High School Tech Club, I figured it’d be great to tell them of these groups as well.

Rails Girls

While this adventure started in Finland, Rails Girls has grown to be a world-wide non-profit volunteer community that encourages women to understand technology and build their ideas.  They teach concepts including sketching, prototyping, basic programming, and an introduction to the wide world of technology using Rails.  I really heard a lot about this from two girls from Colombia who presented before me at Strangeloop this past September, and so of course I was intrigued.  Past events in the US have been held in Chicago, South Florida, Raleigh-Durham, Columbia (MD),  Austin (TX), Washington D.C., Los Angeles (CA), Philadelphia (PA), and Pittsburgh (PA) – just in 2013 alone!  The next event here in the US is January 17 & 18, 2014 in San Francisco. 

HER Ideas in Motion

Based here in Cleveland, HER Ideas in Motion is a non-profit focused on getting girls into technology and media arts.  They try to reach out to girls ages 11-14.  They deal with tech clubs, hands-on workshops, and other events to get women into these areas.  They provide mentoring from technical and creative women in the professions.  My friend Nicole Capuana is one of my favorite local UX resources, and she was the one who mentioned this group to me.  If you’re in the Cleveland area and either have girls who are interested in technology or are a woman interested in mentoring these girls, please check out their website.


DigiGirlz is a Microsoft YouthSpark program that has Microsoft employees working with high school girls on getting into technology.  They run DigiGirlz Day events and DigiGirlz High Tech Camps throughout the world.  These events cover topics such as:

* Career planning
* Information about technology and business roles
* Microsoft product demonstrations
* Thought-provoking exercises
* Developing cutting-edge technology

Some of the DigiGirlz events are for as early as grade 7 through as late as grade 12, with the age requirement of 13.  Check their events schedules to verify your local requirements.

Girl Develop It

An international organization certified by the Board of Education, Girl Develop It is trying to make software development easy, affordable and accessible to all women (as stated on their About page).  They are throughout the US and also have international presence in Canada and Australia.  Some of their events include:

* Hackathons
* STEM fairs
* Nerd parties
* Code & coffee
* General meetups

Some topics include:

* Responsive Web Design
* JavaScript & jQuery
* WordPress

These are just some of the few groups that I know that encourage girls to get into technology or into some aspect of STEM (science, technology, engineering, & math).  If you’ve got more recommendations, please leave me a recommendation in the comments!

By sadukie

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