Projects For Connecting More Girls and Young Women

In order to recognize the role that women and girls play in science and technology, UNESCO, since December 22, 2015, established February 11, the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

The Woman Post | Ana Suárez

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According to the UNESCO website, aspects such as science and gender equality are decisive for sustainable development, but “even so, women continue to face obstacles in the field of science: less than 30% of scientific researchers in the world are women."

In Colombia, the Foundation PLAN International leads a series of projects, in order to empower, motivate and involve more girls and women in the field of science and technology. Based on this, Olga Acosta, Director of Technology and Innovation of the Foundation, points out that the purpose is to work for the rights of girls, and in general the environment that surrounds them.

When talking about women in science, and technology, there are great differences and a great gap compared to other sectors, but from the #WomenInTheCloud Project, what is intended is to generate spaces for participation, action and motivation in the population aged 17 to 24 years. It is about promoting the rights of children, because they are the center, and all this influences the way of relationship with the family, the community and political structures.

Olga Acosta commented that this project has a presence in Cartagena, Quibdó, Tumaco, Jamundí, Buenaventura. And, she also has the support of the French Embassy, ​​Globant and Geek Girls Latam, because the idea is "to inspire the girls who are part of the initiative, to connect them with science and technology."

#WomenInTheCloud seeks that every day more adolescent and young women arouse interest in so-called STEAM careers, that is, those related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

To make the impacts and scope of the project visible, the PLAN Foundation will present this Thursday, February 11 at 4 pm an event through Facebook Live (@ FundaciónPLAN), in which Ángela Anzola, Executive President of PLAN Foundation, Michèle Ramis Ambassador will be present from France in Colombia, and Mercedes MacPherson Chief Talent and Diversity Officer at Globant, as well as Geek Girls Latam and some of the project participants. And how to approach Science and Technology?

There are several factors, and the most important is “building trust. Girls know what PLAN is, and that's one way to inspire them. They are shown the possibilities they have, as well as the achievements that other women have had, with the objective that they recognize that their role in science is vital, to achieve integral growth.”

All this is being built in various stages, for example, the possibilities of access to the cloud and from the perspective of gender, tools and possibilities with the management of tools: video games, development and programming, animation, website design, among others.

Another action is the delivery of tablets and data reloading so that they can connect through the Zoom and Apropia platforms, managed by Geek Girls, to achieve a true appropriation, and together with this, a group of facilitators provided their knowledge, and through strategies, such as WhatsApp groups, many actions have been achieved, and they went ahead, despite the difficulties that arose.

The idea is to get more allies to lead this type of initiative, but the important thing is to conceive technology as a priority. "What we wanted was for them to relate technology, with some of their academic interests, and for them to contribute."

Adding and Clicking

For Olga Acosta it is important that girls and young people take over and empower technology in a didactic way, and for educational purposes. “So for there to be more female representatives in science, we have to have more women studying these types of STEAM careers, and in order for them to choose this type of careers, they have to know them and realize that they exist. You have to show."

It is important then to see the possibilities offered by STEAM careers, and the idea is that girls and women are users of science and technology services, “half of science and technology users are women, but we need more presence, and in this sense, the voice has to be stronger to achieve equality.”

So…What would be the role of the Academy to attract more women to science and technology? According to Olga Acosta… It would be “to open your mind and look for a lot of information. I think it is important to break myths, because many times students are one step ahead of their teachers.”

Also read: Are We Aware of The Importance of Data In Our Life?

In order to bring girls closer together, "it is key to have a new approach from the subjects of mathematics, science, and technology…That is very important, in addition to investment in technological infrastructure in schools and universities."

Another aspect is that the myth that technology and devices "are harmful, because everything has its space, and also technology is the window to the world" must be broken, therefore, the more information and data are handled, the closer to reality and the gap can be reduced. That helps because you have to think about the careers of the future.

Science and Technology in Heels

For Diana Salazar, STEAM woman, Co-founder, and Executive Director of Geek Girls Latam, one way to inspire women to participate in spaces dedicated to science and technology is through example, and not only by showing them strict references in this area, “If not, that you yourself be a reference. In other words, do it so that more women and girls are motivated, to grow and open these spaces.”

Diana Salazar comments that in her case, she reached a leadership role as Software Development Manager in a multinational cross-border trading company, and “I want to continue advancing there, progressing in my technical and human skills and with my role and leadership open paths to for other talented women to come after them and for girls and young women to see in me, a woman who has been trained as a designer and creative, an example of how to scale in an industry that has open doors to multidisciplinary talent.”

Recently Diana Salazar was a jury for the 3M Contest, which sought to highlight 25 women in the field of science in Latin America, where it sought to highlight emerging Latin American scientists who are changing the world through science so that their stories become examples that inspire new generations to follow the path of STEAM areas. "The call seeks to recognize the 25 most outstanding scientists to give visibility to their careers, projects and patents."

Vision, passion and a lot of applied science were the three components that Diana Salazar found in the women who applied to this contest, for example, vision of a world where science is the common denominator in society. "Each of the applicants and especially the group that I had the honor of evaluating directly referenced the characters in science that inspired them," they also mentioned where her passion for science was born.

“Although it sounds obvious, I found science! It was incredible to read about the patents and her projects, about how, thanks to their years of experience, they have managed to evolve theories, create social impact and even found scientific companies.”

The role of women in science can be broader, and it is important that the Academy, the public and private sectors, among others, promote initiatives that allow more women to connect with science and technology, so that there are many more click and a diversity of likes are generated, in a society where women turn on their screens and take over and empower these spaces.

Social Networks:

Fundación PLAN: @FundacionPlan

Geek Girls Latam: @GeekGirlsLatam and #GeneraciónSTEAM

Olga Acosta: @olgaacosta

Diana Salazar: @ddianasalazar

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