Founder & CEO of the Tech Girls Movement, Dr. Jenine Beekhuyzen, speaks on the programme’s mission to deliver access and opportunities afforded by technology programmes and careers for young women across the globe. Dr. Beekhuyzen will be the keynote speaker at this years AVIXA Women’s Council Breakfast at the Integrate 2019 conference in Melbourne, Australia.
AVIXA: What is the reason there is a focus on girls in technology? What are your observations from experience or from presentations you have given?
We focus on girls because unlike boys, the research says girls opt out of STEM at 6 years old. They see the negative stereotypes of those in tech - mostly in the media, and they think they are less capable at math than they did at 5, and they are inspired by different things than boys. We need to engage girls in STEM through things that are important to them - we call this STEM + X - what is your X factor - what you love, and how to combine STEM with that.
AVIXA: Please tell us more about the reasons you founded “Tech Girls are Superheroes” and what has been achieved within the technology area?
We all have a superpower, a strength we draw on to get us through tough times. This is powerful for all of us, especially for young girls who often feel isolated and alone and lacking in courage. We will have 10,000 girls through our STEM entrepreneurship program by 2020 across urban and regional Australia and NZ. We are super proud of this!
AVIXA: Do you believe there is a movement of female professionals in technology Australia-wide or even globally?
There definitely is, they will be gathering at the Grace Hopper Down Under conference in Brisbane in late July! There is a great sisterhood of women in STEM, and we support each other when wherever we can. It is vital that we have each other's backs.
AVIXA: What does this strong movement mean to the AV industry?
The now is digital and we are all part of it, regardless of our age, our gender, our industry. We need to be skilled, confident and courageous in our pursuit of technological solutions that have sound social and ethical implications. Let's not just do digital because we can. Use this power in creating the future of digital that we have to democratise, socialise, and mobilise our stakeholders so that we can be part of a world we can be proud of.