International Girls in ICT Day - A GISP success story
- Professionals International Girls in ICT Day is a recognised day of celebration designed to promote careers in the tech industry amongst female and non-binary students. Over the course of two years, the ACS ICT Gateway to Industry school project (ICT GISP) has supported three schools to run their own Girls in ICT Day.
International Girls in ICT Day is a recognized day of celebration designed to promote careers in the tech industry amongst female and non-binary students. Over the course of two years, the ACS ICT Gateway to Industry school project (ICT GISP) has supported three schools to run their own Girls in ICT Day, with one school inviting students from surrounding suburbs to attend. To date, 431 girls have taken part in ICT GISP ‘Girls in ICT Days’ across three school campuses.
The 2021 Digital Pulse has presented some startling facts about the ICT Industry in Australia. Although women hold around 47% of all employment positions in Australia, they are underrepresented in the technology sector. In 2020, women made up just 29% of the technology workforce. Since 2015, female representation in technology occupations has grown by 0.75% on average every year. One in five graduates in information technology are women. (ACS Digital Pulse, 2021)
The Girls in ICT events are a combination of presentations, discussions and student questions plus relevant experiential learning to engage with students on creative and innovative levels. The idea came from Casey McManus, a Digital Technologies teacher who has a passion for promoting females in the tech industry. Casey has a background in programming, and we had so much fun supporting her vision in 2021 that we invited other ICT GISP schools to run their own events with our support in 2022.
Guests were sourced through the ACS ICT GISP and work for some of the biggest and best tech companies in the local area, nationally and internationally:
· Catherine Newington, ACS ICT Educators’ Specialist
· Marayka Chen, DATA#3, HP Device Specialist at Data#3
· Chelsey Costello, Talenza Cyber Security Professional Recruitment
· Georgia Rissman, Virtual Manager, Global Human Resources Director
· Ann Stevens, TAFE Qld, Lecturer of UX, Games & Interactive Design
· Ashleigh Ward, Insane Technologies Computer Technician
· Adeline Marti, Origin and AWSNCyber Security Operations Analyst
· Fahimeh Alaei, Southern Cross Uni Lecturer in IT
· Amanda Frampton, Microsoft Learning Consultant
· Pauline Fetaui, River City Labs General Manager
· Vivian Nguyen, Go1
· Michelle Bell, Go1 Product Design Manager
· Julia Ponder, Go1 Content Support Specialist
· Sarah Broderick, Go1 Product Designer
· Cassidy Maier, Go1 Associate Product Manager
· Dr Amanda White, Freelance Robotics General Manager
· Angie Murray, CyberCX Managed Security Services Transformation Manager
· Leigh Williams, BCE Head of Information Technology Services
· Michelle Martin, Logan City Council Small Business Adviser
· Geraldine Torrisi-Steele, Griffith University Associate Professor, School of ICT
Students also participated in experiential learning provided by teachers, ACS employees, ICT GISP partners and service providers funded by the ICT GISP. Activities included robotics challenges, STEM workshops, game development, digital art and an entrepreneurship program.
For mentors like Pauline Fetaui, General Manager of River City Labs, talking directly to girls about their own careers has positive benefits. “Taking time out from our day to day roles to promote a career in tech and share our individual journeys to a great cohort of young females can make a huge difference. I love encouraging all young people to follow a tech career path, especially girls who may think it is not for them. We are proof that girls can have rewarding careers in the tech industry.”
To promote a hands-on celebration for schools not running their own event, industry partner MicroMelon created a Girls in ICT Day page populated with a message from Dr Amanda White, Women In Computer Science Posters, embedded videos of emerging and established female tech leaders and fun robotics challenges.
The Gateway to Industry Schools program is proudly supported by the Queensland Government (https://desbt.qld.gov.au/training/employers/gateway-schools). To enquire about becoming involved in the program as an industry partner, please visit https://qldictgisp.acs.org.au/partners.html.