Celebrating women in technology

Women have been at the heart of computer science since the very beginning, but if you asked girls in our schools today to name any female computer science heroes, it’s unlikely that they’d be able to. That’s why it’s important for us to celebrate women in our industry, and to shine a spotlight on the contributions to society of women all around the world.

This year on International Women’s Day, a group gathered in Google Sydney’s office to shine a light on the women who are superheroes in the tech industry. Women like Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper, Barbara Liskov, Radia Perlman, Karen Spark-Jones, Kay Antonelli and Anita Borg are just a few. 

But it’s not just these women we came together to celebrate. We wanted to celebrate those in Australia who are working to inspire young women and girls to choose computer science and technology careers. Women like Associate Professor Katrina Falkner at the University of Adelaide who is changing primary school education nationally by equipping teachers with the skills they need for digital technologies curriculum - for free. Women like Dr Linda McIver who after completing her PhD in Computer Science went into teaching in High School to inspire the next generation of creators. Women like Dr Jenine Beekhuyzen founder of the Tech Girls Movement who is inspiring young girls around the world to get involved.

Currently women in computer science make up around 18% of the workforce in Australia. Yet we know that 75% of all future jobs will require STEM skills and the vast majority of them technical skills like computer science. 2015 application and offer stats show that out of all the applications by women to study at university, only 3% of applications were for IT. We need to shine a light on women in the industry as an example and role model for the women to come.

That’s why we are delighted to be partnering with the Tech Girls Movement to inspire and equip more young women to pursue a path to a career in technology. It’s exciting to see what is possible if you just provide the inspiration and pathway. When we come together to support a movement like this, we equip and inspire future generations of women to lead in our industry.

This week we announced we are extending this relationship and helping the Tech Girls Movement to put a copy of the new Tech Girls are Superheros book in every classroom in Australia. We want girls to be able to see that tech is exciting and fun, and it is for them.

160308_TechGirlsareSuperheros_430.jpgThe current crop of tech girl superheroes featured in the book.

We are also partnering with the Tech Girls Movement to fund workshops for more than 150 teachers to equip them with the skills they need to encourage young women in their classes to join the search for the next Search for Tech Girl Superhero program this year. This hands on program is a fantastic way to teach girls technology and entrepreneurship and inspire them to design their own future. 

We’re also putting up our hands to work too, and we’ll be inviting every Googler in Australia to volunteer to help mentor a team and inspire them to fulfill their dream. We hope that one day we’ll see these young women building the next Google right here in Australia.

160308_TechGirlsareSuperheros_330.jpgEmma Yap, 9, demoing her carpooling app which lets parents who are verified by schools arrange rides with each other on week days and for weekend activities to Alan Noble, Engineering Director Google Australia.

It takes an entire community to make a change this big. We want to invite you to get involved. To join the movement. Help spread the word to your old school, to your networks, in your community. Sign up to mentor a team. Start a team. Help fund a donation of books to your school. Be a part of building a future where women are well represented in the tech community.