As part of the events planned for this year’s International Women’s Day on March 8, Microsoft will host a three-day international digital camp targeting girls in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The initiative, which is entirely virtual, provides an opportunity to connect with girls from Africa and North America for two-hour workshops scheduled to take place between March 7th and 10th.
The Microsoft International DigiGirlz Camp is organized in collaboration with Fair Chance Learning and is designed to give middle and high school girls hands-on experience with technology, workshops to help them bring their ideas to life, and opportunities for cross-cultural collaboration and networking. The program targets girls aged between 11 and 17.
Young women can learn about the various opportunities available in the high-tech industry, gain hands-on experience, and learn from peers and other women already in the field by participating in the Microsoft DigiGirlz Day. The theme for this year’s camp, is lifelong learning.
“The youth who grasp today’s tech will change tomorrow’s world. Right now, women lack a clear pathway to technological experience and resources. At Microsoft DigiGirlz, we’re helping girls across the globe—and especially those in under-represented communities—learn the skills they need to realize their passions in a tech-filled future,” said Wanjira Kamwere, Microsoft Africa Technology Office’s Business Development Manager, when announcing the program.
Student registrations are accepted for enrolment on a first come, first served basis. Event content and curriculum may be geared for specific age groups, so applicants are encouraged to check the target audience before enrolling a student in a DigiGirlz program.
The DigiGirlz registration form must be completed by an adult aged 18 or older. The parent or legal guardian of attendees under the age of 18 may complete the registration form to register the student for a DigiGirlz program.
“The camp is open to girls of all skill levels. It provides hands-on workshops that are led by supportive instructors who can help you increase your abilities. For girls who may have already taken technology classes in school, the camp workshops will provide you with quick exposure to new technologies to help enhance your knowledge,” added Wanjira.
Wanjira Kamwere explained that DigiGirlz events are designed to provide a gender specific approach to introducing girls to career opportunities in technology in a safe setting that is attuned to addressing specific biases and challenges that might impact their experience. However, event participation is open to anyone, regardless of gender identity, who is aligned to our mission to provide an environment that encourages girls’ participation in technology.
Research has shown a sharp drop-off in women who initially study STEM subjects. Women leave STEM disciplines in disproportionate numbers during their studies, during the transition to the workplace and even during their careers. Mentorship programs such as the DigiGirlz can help encourage women to pursue these careers.