On October 15, 2016 Embe co-hosted the first ever Girl’s Maker Day geared towards building confidence in making and getting girls excited about fields where women are traditionally under-represented. The fair included all hands-on activities including video game programming, chemistry, design thinking, 3D printing, and more.
This summer we hosted nine Gaming Bootcamps around our region that included 133 kids. Out of all of those kids, most of them were boys, which just breaks my heart. We struggled to get six girls to attend our camp that we co-hosted with the Girl Scouts.
Over the summer I have heard comments like “girls don’t code”, “girls aren’t interested in programming”, “that is for boys” and “my friends don’t like games”, from both boys and girls. These are 5th through 8th grade kids, and they have already decided what girls like and don’t like.
Even at this early age, many girls have decided that programming, science, and technology are not career paths for them. But, every industry is today is technology enabled and even if they don’t want to be a developer, there are still plenty of opportunities that will require an understanding of technology and programming.
This is exactly why events like this one co-hosted with Embe are so critical to introduce girls to technology in a fun and safe environment. Now, development isn’t for everyone — and I’m not trying to convince anyone otherwise — but to have our girls reject technology without every being exposed to it is just horrible.
When the host of this event approached me with the idea of a maker fair I jumped at the opportunity. I knew that if we could get the girls to sit down for a few minutes and walk through games that we built this summer, that they would not be as intimidated by the idea. And that is exactly what happened. We had well over 100 girls stop by during this maker fair and at least try their hand at building games.
A few of the girls that participate in our summer Gaming Bootcamps attended this fair and it was amazing to see their eyes light up when they saw us there. Every one of them stopped by with their parents and reiterated how much they learned from our summer boot camp. Which warms my heart.
So, where we go from here? Well, I took two sign up sheets to collect contact information and I filled both of them. That is a great sign of the interest in teaching our girls about technology. I even saw a few girls add their own names to the list without asking for permission from their parents, which was great to see.
A lot of the parents stopped and commented that they had never heard of our Gaming Bootcamp but were in complete support of these types of events for their daughters or grand-daughters. Many were ready to sign-up for our camps on-the-spot. We are doing our best to get the word out there, but we still need your help spreading the word and to help evangelize what we are doing. After all, our schools are doing very little to prepare our kids for their technology future.
As long as we can find great partners to host us, great facilitators to teach our boot camps, and the full support from parents to send their kids, I will continue to run boot camps. We will announce our summer schedule some time in January or February but in the meantime, add your name to our mailing list to stay informed.
If your kids can’t wait, or want to get a jump start on building video games, I have a video course on Udemy which covers the games that we built this summer. It is specifically developed for young kids with no experience at building video games. You can use the code “EMBEGIRLS” for a 25% discount through November 2016.Buy Udemy Video Course
As always, feel free to contact me if you have questions, if you are interested in being a sponsor, or if you just want to talk about how we get more girls involved in technology fields.