In reviewing the 2011 list of The Most Influential Women in Technology, I want to take a moment to reflect on what we are doing today to insure we are growing the next generation of Women in Tech. This week is an opportune time to think about this issue and about what we, the women leaders in technology, can do to encourage girls to take on the challenge of changing our world through technology. Three organizations that are attacking the “girl-problem” head-on with innovative and creative solutions come to mind: the Girl Scouts, the National Engineers Week Foundation, and the National Center for Women & Information Technology.
Yesterday, the Girl Scouts celebrated World Thinking Day; observed by Girl Scouts and Girl Guides around the world since 1926. The theme for this year is “Empowering Girls will Change our World.” The Girl Scouts encourage girls to reach out to local and global communities; and take action to improve our world. Think of the collective ability of thousands of girls around the world feeling empowered to make a difference. Now think if we had the ability to empower those girls everyday to change our world for the better, what an awe-inspiring thought!
This week also marks the 60th Anniversary of National Engineers Week, which includes Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day (Girl Day). Girl Day is an annual catalyst for 10,000 volunteers to reach out to one million K-12 girls. This year, to coincide with Girl Day, National Engineers Week is running the “10 for 10” campaign and has set a goal to reach 10,000 10-year-old girls with positive engineering experiences between Girl Day and Mother’s Day. How can we as a leadership cohort affect the next generation–easy talk to a girl about what you do and turn them on to engineering and science careers.
Another organization that I want to mention is the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT). I have the honor of presenting at the 2011 NCWIT Illinois Award for Aspirations in Computing on Saturday. The Award honors young women at the high-school level for their computing-related achievements and interests. Awardees are selected for their computing and IT aptitude, leadership ability, academic history and plans for post-secondary education. The Award offers a range of cash and prizes but best of all; it introduces girls to women in the tech field and gives them a real-world mentor to learn from.
So thanks to all of the organizations that are relentless in the battle to inspire the next ‘girl’ generation of inventors and innovators, we still have a long road ahead of us but from where I sit, especially this week, the future looks bright.