Written by JeAnn Watson, Youth Engagement Director and Camila Castaneda, SCWIST Communications and Events Coordinator.
When 50 percent of the workforce is female, but they only account for a quarter of employees in one of the fastest-growing and most innovative industry in the world, something has to be done. In order to increase awareness and interest in this problem, SCWIST recently launched a technology-focused Quantum Leaps Conference series.
Girls and women are losing opportunities to be a part of technological breakthroughs and contribute to life-altering applications only technology can bring forth. Most importantly, when they do enter the field, their male colleagues often do not treat them equally.
The new conference series
The Youth Engagement team is acutely aware of the lack of diversity and its impact on workplace culture, a fact exemplified through the recent experience of a fellow SCWISTie.
Inspired by her story, the team decided to host their first ever technology focused Quantum Leaps conference, with the aim of increasing awareness and interest for tech in high school girls.
We hosted our inaugural event from Nov 29th to Dec 1st via Zoom. The focus were three major technology domains: data science, software engineering and User Interface / User Experience (UI/UX) design.
Offering a diverse group of speakers
“[The most enjoyable part was] the welcoming atmosphere and freedom to ask any questions anytime to the inspiring women, especially of diverse experiences and backgrounds,” said a student attendee.
The conference was possible thanks to the eleven tech professionals from all walks of life that participated. They volunteered their time to share their journey, knowledge and guidance. This created a safe space for our 14 student attendees to come with their questions.
Students enjoy the engagement
The event taught something new and increased interest in STEM, according to 75 per cent of participants surveyed. What’s more, it was no surprise that they highlighted the engagement as the most enjoyable part.
Another attendee said, “I enjoyed the Q&A’s the most because it provided a source of interaction between the speakers and attendees. Being able to communicate with the speakers made me feel more comfortable and welcomed as well.”
Our next Technology Quantum Leaps Conference is on Mar 10. An amazing panel of speakers will be talking about ‘Where Tech Meets Environment Careers’. Please share and save the date for daughters in grade 10-12. Especially for those who are interested in or curious to explore careers in STEM. While you’re here, visit our events page to check what is coming up soon.
Youth Engagement continues to be committed to providing these opportunities for girls to explore different STEM careers. We look forward to hosting our next tech event in 2022.
Promote our next Technology Quantum Leaps conference on social media! Let’s raise awareness and advocate for girls in STEM. Find us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.