Four young women in ICT use technology to improve their community

SIMONE BILES (4)

Today is International Girls in ICT Day, a day dedicated to girls and young women striving toward, and having, occupations in information and communication technology (ICT) fields.

The day is also about encouraging and empowering girls who are in ICT, girls who are considering entering ICT, and even girls who have never realized that a career in ICT is a feasible option for them.

The gender gap in ICT and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers continues to be an issue. Lovell Corporation’s BridgingTheGap study, Gender and The Future Workforce, reveals that young males are 50% more likely to pursue science than young females.

Despite efforts to encourage women in technology, Generation Z females are less likely to show an interest in computer and information sciences than Millennial females. And young males are also four times more likely than young females to choose engineering or computer science for their studies.

This is why it is important to support women currently working in ICT fields and make STEM opportunities more accessible to the next generation of women to develop their skills. We’re proud to feature four young ChangeLeaders® who are making this happen.

Sweetie Anang

Ghana
Sweetie Anang chose science as her field of interest when she was a child, at a time when it was believed only males could succeed in this subject. Overcoming this adversity, her passion for gender equality, women’s empowerment and education for girls motivated her to inspire other young girls to pursue careers in science and technology.

Sweetie understands she has received more support than other young people in working toward a career in the sciences. As a result, she volunteers a lot of her time to make STEM more accessible.

Together with Code.org, she has hosted coding meet-ups for university students to help guide students onto the right career path. Sweetie has been involved in sessions that teach JavaScript as well as Python programming. She has also been a mentor at a Let Girls Learn hackathon, a program funded under Michelle Obama’s initiative meant to encourage Ghanaian girls to pursue STEM careers.

“We are never too young or too busy to help create positive change. Our input, no matter how small, will yield a great effect." –Sweetie Anang #ChangeLeader #ChangeGen

Reshini Premaratne

United States
Reshini Premaratne became very involved in volunteering as a high school student when sensing the need in her community. She then combined this service with her STEM skills to start a coding program that brings homeless individuals and high school students together to work toward the common goal of learning programming.

While doing this important work, Reshini saw correlations: “I soon realized that the lines of code we were tackling every Saturday are not so different from the lines of socioeconomic inequality that divide my hometown of Richmond.”

She believes that code and coding can be an equalizer that brings everyone in her community onto the same level: The common language that the people in her community share—one that transcends what defines them and breaks down the misconceptions that separate them.

Lauren Reid

Canada
Since she was in the sixth grade, Lauren Reid has had a strong interest in wind turbines and how they worked. As a teen, she developed designs to increase airfoil circulation and lift by redirecting and accelerating the natural airflows of wind turbines with the use of principles developed by groundbreaking scientists Newton, Bernoulli, Venturi and Coanda.

Lauren has since developed low-cost solutions for sustainable energy models that allow consumers to use ‘clean’ renewable energy rather than ‘dirty’ energy. With the use of her methods, capacitor banks (i.e. batteries) “would make wind and solar energy more functional and establish renewable energies as critical components in a sustainable energy model.”

“STEM is sometimes perceived as an exclusive club for intelligent people—it is not. STEM is for anyone who is bothered by something.” –Lauren Reid #ChangeLeader #ChangeGen

Mallah Tabot

Cameroon
Mallah Tabot is the founder of United Vision, an initiative that aims to fulfill sexual and reproductive health (SRH) needs of young people.

United Vision tried many models before they found the use for and value of technology in accelerating their efforts. Mallah helped develop the app, Ndolo360, to provide education, information and services on SRH and HIV for young people in a space without judgment.

"We saw the value of technology. We developed the first-ever mobile application of its kind in Cameroon."

The app allows youth to ask anonymous questions and get responses from experts and peer educators. Ndolo360 also allows them to play educational games and gives them access to a database filled with service providers and clinics that offer SRH services in their vicinity.

Mallah believes in the power of information and its role in reducing dangerous practices, teenage pregnancy, unsafe abortions and HIV infections in teenagers. She used STEM skills to create an app which makes this information more easily accessible for young people in Cameroon.

About the Author

Kelly Lovell is the founder and CEO of ChangeGen. She is globally recognized for her expertise, particularly on engaging Millennials and Generation Z More

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