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Stemettes held a two-day hackathon to raise awareness of International Women’s Day and encourage girls into science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) careers.
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Co-founder of Stemettes Anne-Marie Imafidon said International Women’s Day was used by the network as a platform to raise awareness about women in Stem. It also aimed to encourage awareness and change in the industry, with engagement levels on the day showing that girls are looking for Stem opportunities
“Encouraging girls to explore Stem from an early age is critical to influencing the education and career choices these young women will make in the future. It is essential if we are to improve gender parity in Stem,” said Imafidon.
As part of the two-day event, 50 girls used development platforms AppShed, MIT App Inventor and Ratchet to develop personal finance and banking for applications for girls and women.
The hack took place in sponsor Rise London’s co-operative working space as an example of working environments the girl’s may work in later in life. It catered to girls with all levels of coding skills, whether they were experienced or had never coded before.
Among the applications created by the girls were Women with Money, which used women in the IT industry as role models to encourage girls to rein in their spending. Another app was Schoolarity, which helped parents donate money to charity initiatives at their daughter’s school.
Stemettes has been encouraging girls between the ages of five and 22 to enter Stem careers since 2013. The group runs a number of hackathons and panel events throughout the year to give girls an idea of what jobs in Stem entail.
Many believe a lack of visible mentors in the IT and Stem industries prevents girls from wanting to actively pursue these subjects.
To tackle this, Stemettes runs the Student to Stemette programme, using older women to guide aspirational young women along their career path. It also supports the Modern Muse application, which allows girls to see the career path other women have taken.
Mentoring features heavily in the Stemettes Outbox Incubator programme, a six-week entrepreneurship course that teaches girls how to launch their own Stem business.
Its recently launched application OtotheB helps guide girls along their Stem journey, acting as a portal to find information, mentoring and work experience through the community application.