Tuesday, 02 October 2018 11:21

Code Like a Girl launches mobile ‘pop-up’ classroom

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Technology start-up Code Like a Girl has launched its Roaming Classroom for Rebel Girls – a mobile, pop-up classroom which, it says, is aimed at making coding more accessible.

Code Like a Girl founders Ally Watson and Vanessa Doake have created the pop-up as a way of taking their workshops beyond the CBD, allowing girls from the outer suburbs and regional areas to be exposed to the possibility of a lucrative career in tech.

The pop-up classroom will provide coding workshops to girls from all socio-economic backgrounds, with the view to increasing diversity in Australia’s future tech industry.

Doake said, “We believe tech is for everyone – we’re not just about equipping the top 10% of female coders. But when you run workshops exclusively in the CBD, you do have a limited pool of girls who can attend.

“It goes to the core of our beliefs to ensure we’re exposing as many girls as possible to the benefits of a career in tech, and the best way for us to do this is to take our workshops to those who otherwise would have difficulty attending.”

In what Doake and Watson describe as an industry “widely criticised for its white male privilege”, they say they believe privilege within the tech industry affects more than just its workforce – it also has an impact on the products being built.

“You only have to take a quick glance at the apps being released to understand that modern-day technology is being created by privileged people to help privilege; food delivery, cleaning services, etc,” says Watson.

“And let’s not forget that when Apple’s predominantly-male team released its HealthKit, they completely forgot to include menstruation tracking; something that was relevant to around half its intended users.

“Our mission is not just about getting more women in tech, it’s about getting more women building tech. Because unless we start really diversifying the tech industry — not just to include females, but people from all walks of life — technology is never going to reach its full potential.

“This roadshow is just one of many things we can do to expose girls of all socio-economic backgrounds to the incredible world of coding. And hopefully one day they’ll help to make Australia’s tech industry richly diverse; because only then can we start building tech that truly serves everyone.”

Supported and funded by the Toyota Community Trust, the mobile classroom will travel to six Victorian municipalities for two days each month, making its first stop in Brimbank in October before travelling to Hobsons Bay, Maribyrnong, Melton, Moonee Valley and finishing up in Wyndham in March 2019.

Doake and Watson say there will be approximately 20 students per workshop in order to maximise one-on-one opportunities while simultaneously encouraging collaborative growth, with tickets offered from as low as $5 to ensure accessibility for all participants.

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Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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