EU Code Week – Programming, Robotics and Rights for Girls
By the Delegation of the European Union to the UN and other international organisations in Geneva
On the occasion of the EU Code Week, the EU Delegation co-sponsored the event “Programming, Robotics and Rights for Girls” in Geneva, a hands-on workshop that let 150 girls discover science and coding in the broader context of rights for girls.
Ambassador Walter Stevens opened the one-day workshop to 150 engaged young participants on a Saturday morning, which aimed at encouraging girls and young women to invest in building expertise in digital technology.
“In the year 2019, still only very few girls and women chose to work in robotics
and programming. This needs to change! We want young women and girls to grow up with the idea
that they can do everything boys and men can do, that they can chose any job they would like to do
and that only the sky is the limit. As the future of jobs is technology-intensive, the EU initiated Codeweek aims to bring digital literacy to all Europeans and beyond, and especially to girls,”
he said. Girls aged 6 to 17 took part in coding the electronic light card ‘hepiaLight’, the collaborative robot PoppyJr, and learned about their right to education.
EU Code Week
The event is part of the wider EU Code Week, taking place from 5 until 20 October across Europe and beyond. It is a grassroots movement supported by the European Commission, which brings digital literacy to all Europeans and people worldwide against the backdrop of the unfolding, rapid digital transformation. EU Code Week was launched in 2013 by the Young Advisors for the Digital Agenda Europe and is continued as part of European Digital Single Market strategy. Last year, in 2018, 2,7 million people took part in activities organized by communities and volunteers in approximately 70 countries around the world.
Women in STEM
The event in Geneva focussed on sparking interest in technology especially among girls: With this, the EU Delegation in Geneva aims to contribute to addressing the underrepresentation of women in the digital sector in Europe. Although the digital sector is rapidly growing, creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs every year, the share of women in this sector is decreasing. A 2018 study by the European Commission – Women in the Digital Age – showed that fewer women are interested in participating in the digital sector, with numbers decreasing since 2011. Only 24 out of every 1000 female tertiary graduates study an ICT related subject. In view of these findings, the event “Programming, Robotics and Rights for Girls” hosted by the EU Delegation, RightsTech Women, HEPIA, CERN Micro Club and Women in Tech at CERN, gave an opportunity for girls to discover this field for their future.