Girlsday 2019! Last Thursday technical- and IT companies opened their doors for young girls all around the country. Girlsday is meant to introduce the possibilities of the technical/IT work field to young girls. This year, my colleagues and I organized Girlsday at CGI for 36 enthusiastic girls. It was amazing to be part of it and to see the happy faces of the girls during the day.
We have welcomed girls from two different schools with a different age category (primary- and high school). Therefore, we had two different programs, based on age category. We started both programs with an introduction of CGI. Tessy, sector lead vice president at CGI, gave a brief talk about the story of CGI and our Founder “Serge Godin”. Well, if you are presenting to a group of young girls, you must be prepared. The most interesting and funny questions will be asked. One of the girls asked: “Is he (Serge Godin) still living?” and “Is he (Serge Godin) working here in Rotterdam?”. In my opinion, this was really cute. I also loved the positive energy of the girls. We showed a video about CGI and what we’re doing. Tessy asked what they saw in the video. A couple of the answers were: “you make devices better” or “you make technology which is good for the environment”. They approached everything very positive, which is great.
After the short introduction we had a workshop with Lego Mindstorms. The girls got some exercises to get familiar with coding and robots in a nice way. It was funny to see the girls exploring the possibilities of this technology. For a moment, I just remember myself during my first programming class while working with Lego Mindstorms. It was not working, and I didn’t understand anything. I was desperate and thought “Will this ever work?”. The answer is yes and it’s not impossible. If you want to learn it and go for it, you’re almost there. After the workshop we got interesting comments like “programming was challenging, but by doing and exploring it by ourselves we learned more”. And some girls experienced programming like working on a difficult puzzle.
The girls from the high school also had a panel discussion. They asked Alexandra, Kim and me several questions about working in IT. “What did you study?”, “Why did you choose for CGI?”, “What are your daily activities?”. Sometimes it was challenging to answer these questions, because I had to talk in a language they would understand. So, no difficult terms and explanations.
At the end of the afternoon we finished the Girlsday with a talk. I can happily say that some girls were enthusiastic about IT and some even considered working in IT. I had so much fun while preparing everything with my colleagues and during the day.