Girls Into Coding: 2021 Highlights and What’s in Store for 2022
2021 has by no means seen a return to “normal”, but many organisations have found ways to adapt and even thrive in the face of current challenges. Girls Into Coding have expanded their online presence dramatically. This included hosting 24 virtual and free events to keep girls enthused about STEM education and projects, technology, and connected to their peers. The feedback around these events has been incredible, and a real testament to the work put in by founders Avye and Helene. There’s so much to say about 2021, but let’s just see the highlights reel.
The Impact of the Pandemic
Who would have thought that a year on from our last annual review, we’d still be talking about the pandemic? Covid-19 has caused so many young people to miss out on educational and community initiatives. The impact of this is kids who feel left behind, struggling to catch up, or unable to pursue their passions. This leads to feelings of isolation, depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.
Finding ways to keep extra-curricular options open to kids from all backgrounds has never been more vital.
Adapting to Change and New Opportunities
It turns out, though, that not being able to meet at venues made young innovators and grassroots organisations even more creative. Using communications tools like Zoom combined with bespoke kits posted out prior to events, Girls Into Coding were able to keep tech events alive for girls aged 10 to 14. Not only did the events continue, but they expanded to an even wider audience thanks to the accessibility of Zoom.
We introduced some new topics and projects such as the 3D printed robot arm. This project introduced girls to kinematics; the mechanical, programmable eyes; the Grabber Remote-controlled Robot. Another key topic was the Internet of Things (IoT). If you don’t know much about IoT, check out our previous blog where we break it down for parents and carers. There are at least 10 billion active IoT devices in the world right now. Introducing the concept to children early is a brilliant way to prepare them for the future.
Over the course of the pandemic and 24 well-attended virtual events, girls have had access to over a hundred workshops. As well as IoT and robotics, these covered physical computing, 3D design, and the coding education girls need in order to stay ahead of the technological curve. Attendees joined from all over the world; from the United States to Kenya, Suriname, Poland, Ireland, and many more countries.
Making a Difference
The most important aspect of any community initiative is the ability to make a difference. Knowing that the work you do has had a positive impact on attendees is the real reason not-for-profits do what they do. Girls Into Coding were proud to win the prestigious Tech4Good People’s Award and to be a finalist in the Tech4Good Community Impact Award. Tech4Good recognised how GiC empowers girls aged 10 to 14 to develop confidence and to reinforce the fact that girls in STEM belong there.
Girls Into Coding were awarded Runners Up in the Extra Mile category by the Merton Best Business Awards
GIC was announced as one of the “Diversity & Inclusion Champions 2021” by the Great British Entrepreneur Awards & Community, as well as being finalists in their Family business category. The mother and daughter team of Avye and Helene have shown that other girls and women in tech and other fields can and should follow their interests and passions. It is truly possible to challenge stereotypes and stand up against discrimination.
GiC reached hundreds of girls in 2021, helping them learn more about STEM education, tech education, but most importantly, letting them have fun and create with peers just as passionate about technology as them.
Our Hopes for 2022
One of the first things we long for is a safe return to face-to-face events. While organisations are right to keep their attendees safe, there is something special about gathering together and sharing experiences and knowledge in person. We hope that as the pandemic situation continues to improve, community tech and STEM events will bring girls of all ages back together. GIC were able to make a brief return to face-to-face, hosting their first face-to-face event for over 18 months in late November.
We’d love to see more enterprises and corporate entities teaming up with grassroots organisations. As well as making a real difference in the communities these organizations serve, there’s a huge benefit to the companies, too. We’ve previously explored how tech companies with women in leadership roles have much higher ROI. Encouraging today’s girls in tech to become the women in tech of tomorrow is as much an investment as it is a way to boost a company’s charitable engagement.
It would be great to see more support generally for organisations determined to include girls and young women in STEM education activities. Hands-on tech education is the key to being a part of the future of innovation. The more support these types of organisations receive, the more children they can help and encourage.
With that in mind, we’re proud to unveil Girls Into Coding’s 2022 mission: Girls Into Coding will continue to aim to engage at least 1000 girls in 2022 and beyond, with hands-on workshop opportunities and talks from inspiring women in tech. We want our social impact to contribute towards seriously addressing the gender gap in tech and to sustain girls’ interest in tech activities.
Ultimately, we hope this leads to many more girls and young women considering STEM education and fulfilling careers in the world of technology.