On May 28th, Deborah Carter, NewTechKids’ Founder, spoke at the SheSays Amsterdam event with the theme ‘Inclusion Starts with I’.

Here’s a quick summary of her presentation and the key points raised during the roundtable discussion she facilitated:

Many women work in the technology industry and in industries driven by technology.  Taken all together, our inclusion is powerful.

Women are technologists such as computer scientists, data scientists, programmers, developers and engineers. They are also lawyers, policymakers and experts focused on the implications of technology such as IP, privacy laws and government regulation. They are designers, artists and other creative industry professionals who integrate technology into their work and/or use technology to create work. They are professionals who use technology daily to do their jobs in a range of professions such medicine, education, farming, sports, construction, retail, energy and more.

In our roles as caregivers, women help young kids establish patterns, attitudes and behaviour related to technology usage and creation.

Women are mothers, teachers and caregivers who often provide children with their first access to technology and education about technology. They are important role models who help determine kids’ attitudes and behaviours towards technology. More has to be done to support them in doing this in a way that promotes inclusion and ensures that all kids – girls and boys, children of colour, children from low-income communities – have an equal chance to engage with and learn about technology.

Women and men must change their mindset and beliefs when it comes to girls’ interest in and aptitude for learning about technology.

Many of today’s participants acknowledged that they don’t associate girls and women with technology education. They have certain views about the learning preferences of girls as well as their aptitude for understanding how technology works and mastering technical skills such as programming.

We need to start thinking about technology less in technical terms and more as a problem-solving tool which helps people express their ideas and creativity. We need to value thinking about the implications, effects and ethics of technology as much as developing the algorithms and AI which drive technological innovation.

NewTechKids has begun adopting this mindset and pivoting towards more inclusive pedagogies and teaching approaches.  Because of this, we’re seeing improvements in the level of interest and engagement among girls and other under-represented groups in our computer science and programming classes.

A big thank you to Kerrie Finch and futurefactor for organizing this great event.

(Photo by Guido van Nispen during event)

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