GirlsGoIT 2017 Annual Forum was organised to identify key trends and innovative approaches to support women and girls to pursue career and education in STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, especially in VET - Vocational Education and Training and make it more attractive to young people.
Diana Marusic, a computer science student at the University of Bucharest spoke about her experience at the first GirlsGoIT summer camp in 2015.
I also started to like IT in school, but I was not very determined to go on a career in IT, because I also liked math and physics and other less technical areas. But the GGi campus of 2015, the first summer camp, was such an impulse for me when I said I'm definitely going to IT, I'm sure IT faculty and it was a great inspiration to me because I met a lot girls passionate about IT, I vb and mentors who even worked in IT and were able to tell me the real experience. So, after the GGI camp we decided to go in this area
Diana Marusic, Computer Science Student at the University of Bucharest
The Minister of Health, Labour and Social Proctection, Ambassador of the Embassy of Sweden, UN Women, Ambassador of the Austrian Embassy gave a welcoming speech and remarks at the opening of the forum.
“The GirlsGoIT Annual Forum is a very important event for each of us, as well as for our country, for the economy of RM. I believe that women and informational technologies can form a beautiful, sustainable and productive partnership, and many women are already involved in this field or are participants to this program. The new Strategy regarding employment puts a great emphasis on the employment of girls and women in Moldova, and its objectives are linked to the promotion of the formal employment and the creation of a favorable environment for the development of competitive enterprises by creating equal opportunities for different groups of workforce and, at the same time, the implementation of non-discriminatory policies on the labor market. The new draft law regarding employment, elaborated together with the development partners, has an absolutely new approach which diversifies, modernizes and adapts the active measures in compliance with the needs, especially of girls and women in search of employment opportunities”
Minister of Health, Labour and Social Protection, Stela Grigoras
“The success of the GirlsGoIT initiative is big not only in the Republic of Moldova, but also at the international level, and it became a movement which motivates other countries as well. We are proud that GirlsGoIT is not only a set of activities, and that it became a movement with over 250 ambassadors in every part of Moldova, which break stereotypes and bring up the idea of leadership in the IT field. But the stereotypes about the IT field being designed for men is still present, and women are mostly seen as beneficiaries of this field. This division is being created at an early stage of one’s life, thus many girls start believing that they are less capable than boys. We need girls, like the ones which are part of the GirlsGoIT program, who can prove that there isn’t any field in which women can’t thrive, breaking such stereotypes”
Asya Varbanova, UN Women Acting Head of Office
“I am impressed by the results registered within such a short period of time by girls which are part of the GirlsGoIT program. Over 200 girls have directly benefited from this platform, and many have become ambassadors, sharing their experiences with the members of the communities they represent and inspiring young women to acquire new skills in the field of informational technologies. It is wonderful to see how this project evolved and how many supporters it gathers each year. Gender equality and women empowerment are priorities for the Swedish Government, they are tools which contribute to the economic development and refer to equality in opportunities both for women and men. Encouraging women and girls to enter the IT sector is truly our future and it will contribute to the development of the national economy”
Her Excellency, Signe Burgstaller Ambassador of Sweden in Moldova
“GirlsGoIT works in the right direction, because IT becomes more and more important, creating many high paying jobs. This way, women have many more career opportunities. According to a recent study, for many companies it is difficult to recruit women who would possess the full set of engineering studies in the IT field. It is important to make sure that women have access to this type of education and that opportunities are created based on gender equality, on equal priorities for disadvantaged people and, in this context, the GirlsGoIT initiative is fully supported by the Austrian Ministry of Social Affairs in regard to provision of consultancy. The GirlsGo IT program can be a useful tool for the labor policy, elaborated by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Social Protection of the Republic of Moldova, and it can be integrated in an Excellence Center in the field, which would bring added value”
Her Excellency, Christine Freilinger, Ambassador of Austria in Moldova
“GirlsGoIT 2017 Annual Forum centers on young women passionate about the IT field – ambassadors of technology, who have become leaders in their communities thanks to the knowledge obtained within the GirlsGoIT program. Such initiatives offer girls in RM equal chances and the opportunity to study, as well as become a source of inspiration for young women in rural communities. Every year the IT field evolves considerably, and this is why it is necessary to exploit and direct the potential of girls towards the field of technology, thus preparing them for the requirements of the labor market. This will also have a positive impact on the economic development of the country, and a proof of that are the countries which have a considerable number of women involved in the IT field”
Mihaela Iurascu, organizer, President of TEKEDU
The forum pointed on sustainable trends and initiatives that can support the labour market, skilling and re-skilling the experienced workforce and platforms that can enhance women and girls access to information in ICT career. This session of the forum was led by the Nadja Bergmann - L and R Social Research on behalf of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection, Raisa Dogaru - Director of the National Employment Agency ANOFM, Marina Şelaru - Executive Director The Association of Professional Accountants and Auditors of the Republic of Moldova ACAP, Svetlana Arnaut – Director Ellation Moldova, and Elena Zamsa - Director DAS Solutions.
Alina Ciobanu and Olga Calcuara graduated from Vocational education and Training Institutions – VET in Cahul and Chisinau and they shared their experience why it is fulfilling with advantages to study in VET schools and colleges.
“I graduated from Iulia Haşdeu college and I managed to see the pluses and minuses, I would not say there are many minuses. The main reason students do not want to learn at college is stereotypes. Just as it is said that computer science is not a domain for girls. Nine of us were told that: ok, do you college and then what? You better get the BAC, you go to the university. And I'm asking myself the same question: and after university what are you doing? Or what do you do if you do not want to learn? That is why I chose the college. I did the college, I gave the BAC, I went to the university and I learned what I like. I understand that computer science is where I want to study
Alina Ciobanu - Graduated from College IULIA HAȘDEU from Cahul
We also had deputy director if VET schools who came to speak at the forum and share insights on how we can encourage more women to choose VET schools and make VET sector attractive to young people:
“A regrettable fact is that the number of girls is much lower than the number of boys in this area. If we talk about all sorts of activities, then the percentage of girls is much higher than to get involved in events, trainings. Girls are more ambitious, and if they do, they touch it. Our goal, the biggest ones, is to give them a helping hand, to support them in order to realize their dreams. How can we influence pupils / pupils to come to colleges as they are called - technical style, here the whole society should be involved - parents, in schools, lyceums, gymnasiums - masters, psychologists and in what field, to open the bracket (in most cases, a stamp is placed that boys have the gift of real objects and girls to human). We should encourage them, both girls and boys have to work in both directions. We have to work with pupils, regardless of their profile, because they have potential and goals, and they need to be supported. Thank you very much
Virgil Bantaș, Deputy Director of Centre of Excellence in Electronics and Energetics in Chisinau
Inspiring women in tech from Ellation Moldova – Svetlana Arnaut, Cristina and Natalia, European Centre for Women in Technology, and Scuola di Robotica in Italy – Fiorella Operto, Digital Leadership Institute – Cheryl Miller and Google UK - Kate Driskell spoke about their career and long experience in technology and encourage Moldovan Woman to pursue STEM studies and career in technology.
The GirlsGoIT 2017 Annual Forum was organized on November 23 together with the Government of the Republic of Moldova, supported by the Swiss Cooperation Office, UN Women, Swedish Embassy, Austrian Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection, USAID and Swedish Government, Google RISE awards, Ellation, BSD Management, Spark Research Labs and TEKEDU.