Girls in STEM: event aims to dispel tech gender myths

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The Girls in STEM event at The Shed is part of a UK and Ireland initiative to encourage girls to take up STEM subjects.

Girls aged 11-15 will be taking part in a special event at MMU’s The Shed on Thursday 28 January as part of an initiative to encourage more girls into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths) subjects and careers.

Organised by global professional services company Accenture and award-winning social enterprise Stemettes, Girls in STEM is one of five events taking place on the 28th, with others in London, Newcastle, Dublin and Edinburgh.

The busy day of activities will include a hackathon which will see the girls compete by playing the Hakitzu Code Warriors Game. Using JavaScript, they will be be challenged to win the game using the power of programming. The girls will also use the Scratch coding programme to create games for the Raspberry Pi.

MMU’s own tech experts will be on hand at the event to deliver two workshops. The University’s 3D printing service will provide an introduction to 3D printing plus hands-on experience of using 3D modelling software. The girls will also get a chance to combine technology and fashion with an interactive making session hosted by the MMU Hollings wearable tech group.

Building on experience gained from a similar event in Newcastle last January which attracted 300 girls, Girls in STEM hopes to dispel some of the myths around tech-based careers.

A 2015 survey by Accenture found that 60% of girls aged 12 believe that STEM subjects are too hard to learn, and while job creation in the UK is up for STEM roles, a report last year by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills found that many vacancies are hard to fill due to a skills shortgage.

Emma McGuigan, senior managing director for Accenture Technology in UK and Ireland, said: “It is a serious concern that girls believe that STEM subjects are too hard to learn, so the aim of our events is to showcase the applicability of these skills through interactive workshops. The speakers and workshops… aim to inspire and girls and educate them about the amazing possibilities open to them.”

Anne-Marie Imafidon from the Stemettes said: “I’m excited to be bringing these girls on their own personal Stemette journeys, hopefully ending up in the industry.”

The Girls in STEM event at The Shed takes place Thursday 28 January, 10am-4pm. Places were available through schools and the day is now fully booked

Image: courtesy of Stemettes/PaparazziVIP