Brownies and Guides play such a vital role for so many girls when growing up, equipping them with essential life skills, such as cooking, crafting and confidence building. But now, young girls will have the opportunity to code and learn about chatbots, in a bid to boost girls’ interest in STEM subjects.
Women currently only make up 28% of the STEM workforce, and one of the major influencers of this is how the subjects are portrayed to school-aged girls. Research by Girlguilding also found that 52% of girls and women aged between 11 and 21 viewed STEM subjects as male subjects.
Why are Google and Girlguides partnering?
To make STEM more inclusive to girls, Google and Girlguiding have partnered to provide opportunities for nearly 400,000 girls to learn essential digital skills, through the Skills for My Future programme. The programme will include skills such as coding, to encourage girls to participate in STEM-based activities and subjects.
“Technology is for everyone and can be made by anyone, which is why girls and young women should be able to pursue their interests in it, and have the opportunity to design and build the technology that impacts their lives,” says Nicole McWilliams, Software Engineering Manager at Google.
“We hope the digital skills activities we’ve created with Girlguiding will inspire even more girls to learn about technology in a fun way,” Nicole continues. “It’s fantastic seeing the young girls’ faces light up as they begin to understand concepts like coding and learn more about how technology can help to solve all sorts of problems, from the everyday to the epic.”
What will the programme offer girls?
Rainbows, the Girlguiding branch for four to seven year olds, will be taught app design through the programme “happy appy”, a game based around rescuing unicorns. Brownies, for girls aged seven to 10, will be offered sessions teaching them to write code for a robot and fix bugs in "Brownie bots". Guides and Rangers, who are aged between 10 and 18 will receive sessions on chatbots in “chattermatter” and phone design in "build-a-phone".
Each of these programmes have been designed to be offline by Google engineers, to ensure they are accessible to all girls regardless of their access to technology.