Author Archives: Keila Guimaraes

How altruism can help to get more women in STEM

NigeriaGirlsRIGHT

Altruism can play a role in making science, technology, engineering and mathematics more accessible to women.

Anne-Marie Imafidon, assistant vice-president at Deutsche Bank and founder of Stemettes, an organization to inspire girls to pursue careers in STEM areas, points out that, besides creativity, it is key to show women they are able to solve problems by using technology.

Imafidon says women can be great problem-solvers when empowered by STEM knowledge.

To make her point, the executive mentions initiatives such as the group of four girls in Nigeria that created a machine to convert urine into electricity and the three Irish girls who developed a project to tackle the global food crisis.

Listen to the Stemettes’ founder talking about the topic:

When asked why the tech industry should be aware of the gender gap, she says that all industries would benefit from having a more diverse workforce.

“We have big problems. And no offense, while the guys are chasing billions by making apps, you have to have someone who is actually using the great technology that we have to solve the problems we have, whether they are hunger, illiteracy or infrastructure.”

Listen to her talking about gender equality here:

More from this article

If you would like to know about the examples Imafidon mentioned in her interview, here are the links:

Meet the 11-year-old inventor of the ‘unbreakable cup

This woman invented a way to run 30 lab tests on only one drop of blood

Featured image: Nigeria girls that created a machine to convert urine into electricity. Credit to Erik Hersman

Tackling the gender gap in the tech industry starts at school

KIDS

The gender disparity in the tech industry starts earlier than people might think.

When looking to figures about the industry, it is not only that employers aren’t hiring women: girls are reluctant in choosing degrees in fields such as computer science and engineering.

The latest figures on women’s participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in the UK show that only 13% of all STEM jobs in the UK are occupied by women, according to a study by the Wise Campaign.

“Technology is so much about innovation, about how you apply skills to make things better. And women’s creativity and mindset, which is focused on solving problems, are not being considered technology,” says Torie Chilcott, CEO and co-founder of Rockabox Studios.

Chilcott believes that to get more women to the STEM areas it is necessary to emphasize the creative aspect of these areas.

“Creativity is not being taught at schools as an skill and the STEM areas are not being presented in an appealing way.

“It is necessary to stop the vertical subjects and start focusing on problem solving,” she says.

Watch Chilcott, winner of the “Woman of the Year” at the everywoman in Technology Awards 2014, talking about gender gap in the tech industry.

Photo credit: Nasa.

As it happened: What would the web look like if it was run by women?

WebWeWant

Ashley, Keila and Sam brought you live coverage of A Web For Her, an event that asked a simple question: What would the web look like if it was run by women?

Live Blog A Web For Her
 

4 tips to get you started with coding

FotorCreated

It has been said that learning to code will be as crucial as being literate in the near future.

While there is a debate if that is true or pure exaggeration, more and more jobs in the media industry are demanding coding skills and more people are trying to push themselves to learn simpler languages such as HTML and CSS.

The question many beginners have is: where to start? Project Ada had a chat with Alison Benjamin, a web developer at the Frontline Club, who got into programming mainly by teaching herself.

“I have a non-traditional tech background; I did my BA in Arts and focused on information systems during my masters in Library and Information Science, but a lot of things were self-taught. I was lucky enough to have people all around me that would help me to learn,” she says.

Alison Benjamin, web developer at the Frontline Club

Alison Benjamin, web developer at the Frontline Club

 

At the end of her masters at the University of Toronto, Benjamin got Google Summer of Code grants in 2010 and 2011.

In 2012, she left Canada to take up a job at the Frontline Club, where she is responsible for developing the Frontline Club’s Web properties and its digital strategy.

If you are interested in learning to code, but have no clue where to start, here are her tips to break into the world of programming:

 

 

Teach yourself online

“There a lot of resources online. MIT OpenCourseWare puts university-level computer science classes online. Codecademy and Code School are aimed at beginners and deliver lessons via a game-like pedagogy. It is like learning languages.”

Go out and meet people

“Going to places like Hacks/ Hackers and asking questions is good. You might approach people and say ‘I’d like to contribute to these projects, my skills are A, B and C and I would like to learn X, Y and Z’. There are many people willing to talk about their experience in development, in journalism or in both. That may be a way forward.”

Start a website

“Do pragmatic things like building a website. Start doing your own maps and graphs, put your work on the web on platforms such as GitHub and see if that works for you.”

Use your spare time to learn something new

“In my spare time I do a couple of development projects. At the moment, I am interested in D3. This is a really popular JavaScript library that allows you to visualize data using SVG, JavaScript, HTML and CSS. It is extremely powerful and you can make visualisations with CSV spreadsheets or geographical data as a source. You can build everything, from charts to animations.

“The great thing about D3 is the rich community behind it. People post the code and datasets behind their projects on GitHub and in gists. You see something and think ‘this is a cool project. How did they get here?’ and you can go and see what is behind the visualisation.”

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