The launch of Girls in Tech Luxembourg on Wednesday
Photo: Charles Caratini
ICT: Girls in Tech is out to change the world--at least the world of technology, which is predominately a man’s world. They’re working to give women the confidence and skills to make their dreams come true--and to get a fair piece of what promises to be a big economic pie in the future.
Teenage girls and young women have the reputation of being attached to their mobile phones, but that’s about the only area of technology where girls outnumber boys.
According to Girls in Tech Luxembourg, only four in 1,000 women will eventually work in the ICT sector, unless, of course, initiatives like theirs encourage more women to enter what is still a very male-dominated field.
Girls in Tech Luxembourg held their launch Wednesday at The Impactory, drawing a capacity crowd who came to learn more about this non-profit organisation.
“We want to help women have access to the opportunities out there, and technology is one of few sectors where there is growth and demand,” says co-managing director Marina Thiriet.
There’s a lot to be done and Girls in Tech is doing it, not just in Luxembourg--which tops Europe for the gap between the number of men and women working--but across the globe. The local chapter is part of a global group that started in the US in 2007, the youngest of the 27 groups worldwide and the sixth chapter to be set up in Europe.
Networking and inspiring
The group wants to inspire girls and women of all aptitudes and ages to excel in areas like digital marketing, social media, and start-ups, and they especially want to help women overcome a lack of confidence.
“We want to help in three main ways,” says the group’s other co-managing director, Marie-Adélaïde Gervis. “By hosting networking events, so women know they aren’t alone and can share their ideas; by hosting workshops in areas such as design and editing, so women can develop skills; and by inviting role models to speak with them, so that they can meet women who have succeeded in tech and be inspired to do the same.”
One such role model addressed the crowd at the group’s launch: Virginie Simon, CEO and founder of MyScienceWork, the first professional scientific social network in Europe dedicated to open access.
Operating for less than four years, MyScienceWork now boasts a digital library of over 25 million articles, secure working groups and job offers--and a community of over 300,000 people
“Technology is still a boys’ school”
Another role model--and the surprise of the night--was Viviane Reding, vice president of the European Commission. “Technology is still a boys’ school,” she said, in speech video recorded especially for the Luxembourg launch, “and only 18% of leaders in technology are women, so there is a long way to go until it’s a girls’ school too.”