All girls have a right to be part of the innovation economy!

Everyone close to me knows I am a huge fan of TechGirlz.  TechGirlz is a nonprofit support and mentor-ship network meant to nurture girls in their development of a love for and proficiency with technology that is uniquely designed for their needs and the ways in which they learn best. TechGirlz ultimate goal is to build a more robust, diverse, and supremely competitive workforce.

Here is the TechGirlz Manifesto by Tracey Welson-Rossman – their founder.Tracey

At its core, TechGirlz is a nonprofit support and mentorship network meant to nurture girls in their development of a love for and proficiency with technology that is uniquely designed for their needs and the ways in which they learn best. Our ultimate goal is to build a more robust, diverse, and supremely competitive workforce.

As we stand on the doorstep of important new milestones and growth, we thought it was worth taking a moment to pause and reflect on why and how we do this work.

But first, let’s acknowledge that everyone has a right to be a part of the innovation economy. This is our industrial revolution and has the potential to remake our experience as humans — financially, the way in which we live our lives, the way we work, governments, the environment, the list goes on and on.

There are many different ways to be involved — as creators, as marketers, as consumers, as stewards — but no one should ever be forbidden the ability or capability to participate.

Second, it’s undeniable that universal participation in the innovation economy is critical for success. Here in the U.S. alone we are projected to be 1 million people short of filling our workforce needs in 2020. There is no way to meet that need without encouraging participation by all — white, black, brown, yellow, male, female, transgender, whomever.

And a funny thing will happen when we’re successful in doing this. Researchers agree that companies perform better with a more diverse workforce. By encouraging and nurturing this participation, not only will we grow our workforce, we’ll end up with more successful companies as a result.

Third, the changing nature of our lives and work shows that we need more than just technical technologists in our industry. It’s imperative that non-technical technologists are a part of the solution because they provide context, creativity and vision. They are the next generation of farmers, marketers, and fashion designers — all using technology to advance the human experience.

With those important points in mind, here then is our manifesto for the road ahead. We believe:

1. All girls have a right to be part of the innovation economy.

2. Diversity in tech is ultimately an economic issue: companies perform better and even thrive with a more diverse workforce, and more women in tech can address the industry’s workforce shortage.

3. Technology is a creative skill. It conveys the right to create and requires technical skill channeled by vision, creativity and an understanding of the world around us. Girls should be embraced as valuable creative contributors.

4. Girls learn differently. Science proves that engaging girls early and with different instruction enables them to prosper in technology. Instead of forcing girls into accepted methods of technology instruction, we are redesigning how technology is taught to girls.

5. Community is critical. Leading by example allows girls to visualize their Path through technology and identify mentors — both male and female. We will work diligently to expand and connect this community on behalf of girls.

6. Technology is more than coding. There are an infinite number of tech-related fields and careers — those like farming that can be advanced through an understanding of technology, or video game and software development that require marketers and designers to thrive. All perspectives help to advance technology as a discipline.

7. It takes a community. No one person or group can offer a total solution to solve the gender gap in tech. We must all work together towards the common goal.

8. The Path is worthwhile. While the obstacles to becoming a woman in tech — and then remaining a woman in tech — are innumerable, the journey is an important one that is ultimately fulfilling to both the individual and the larger community. We will continue to inform, educate and champion this Path to help make it easier on every girl that sets out upon it.

 

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