Center for the Promotion of Science, Ministry of Labor, Employment, and Social Policy, and Gender Equality Directorate, School of Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Organizational Sciences, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering of Applied Studies, Faculty of Transport and Traffic Engineering, CSO Equal Opportunities
Belgrade, Serbia, 2014, April 24
The International Girls in ICT Day 2014 was celebrated in Serbia through the organization of computer programming workshops for girls of finishing grades of elementary schools Karadjordje and Gornja Varos from Belgrade. Thirty girls, age 14 and 15, came to their first lesson in computer programming, organized by the Center for the Promotion of Science (CPS) in cooperation with the School of Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Organizational Sciences, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering of Applied Studies and Faculty of Transport and Traffic Engineering. The event was organized at the initiative of the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Policy, Gender Equality Directorate and CSO Equal Opportunities.
Group of girls, who are finishing elementary school, were invited to CPS's Science Club, where they heard inspirational speeches of few older female students, who themselves chose a career in ICT. The female students and teaching assistants from four faculties in Belgrade shared the important information with elementary school girls about the challenges and opportunities of choosing a software developer career. The foreseen deficit of IT experts in ICT field in Europe and globally was highlighted, especially in software engineering field. Also the young ICT experts explained what are, from their experience, the job requirements in ICT industry, what are the prospects and trends in ICT sector, what is the future of these technologies, what are the advantages and what are the challenges - all the information which young girls who are soon going to chose their career path need to know.
The group of girls, visitors of the Science Club, also saw a beautiful documentary Code Stars, where superstars of IT technology, such as Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, Dropbox founder Drew Houston talk about the "super powers" of those who are skilled in computer programing.
After the movie, the girls participated in the first in a sequence of workshops under the name "Programing is easy to learn". These workshops are starting the larger project "The first step towards the successful and equal ICT career" that will be run as a continuous activity of the CPS Science Club.
In this workshop, participants had the chance to get introduced to Scratch, free programing tool, which enables children to create their own games, animated stories and interactive works of art, and also to exchange their work through the internet.
The girls could follow the instructions on two smart boards, and at the same using the computer to create their first code, making the fist steps towards the programing career. Learning to program, girls showed great enthusiasm, interest and skill.
The goal of this workshop was to get the girls interested in signing up for high schools and faculties, which have ICT courses. The idea was to present the power of the modern technologies and show how programing can be interesting and fun, and not hard to master.
On the same day, Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Policy presented the "Research on the role of ICT–related knowledge and women's labour market situation" conducted by the expert team led by CSO Equal Opportunities. The research presents the comparative analysis of developments in Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia and Finland and shows, among the other findings, that although there is an equal number of male and female Internet users in up to 24 years old population women constitute less than 20 % of professionals in the ICT sector in Serbia.
In kind contributions:
Center for the Promotion of Science – computer room, equipment, media coverage, coordination with schools
All four Faculties – preparation of the computer programing class content and expert lead through the class
Ministry and Gender Equality Directorate, together with the CSO Equal Opportunities: Initiative for the event, snacks and gifts for girls participating in the event