A coding club for girls
In 2018, EPFL set up a coding club for girls to pique their interest in digital technologies.
In Switzerland, women are still a minority in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). If we are to close this gap, we need to get more girls interested in these subjects. EPFL has therefore set up an array of activities across the region aimed at raising young girls’ awareness of these subject areas. And EPFL now runs a number of semester-long courses – with names like « internet and coding for girls, » « robots are for girls, » and « I like math! » – and day-long workshops designed specifically for girls, including an app design workshop run by the School of Computer and Communication Sciences.
In 2018, the Coding Club for Girls, which offers coding workshops for girls aged 11 to 15, was added to the mix. The project is run by EPFL’s Science Outreach Department with funding from the Swiss Federal Office for Gender Equality. The club aims to spark young girls’ interest in digital technologies by strengthening their skills and fostering their creativity. And the skills they develop can be applied in numerous fields.
Through coaching and discussion sessions, the girls are given the opportunity and means to develop their knowledge of information and communication technologies (ICT).
«The club aims to spark young girls’ interest in digital technologies by strengthening their skills and fostering their creativity. And the skills they develop can be applied in numerous fields.»
They also get to work with female role models who can show them that these subjects and other engineering fields are open to women too. The coding club has been a huge hit, as evidenced by the long waiting lists for the 2018 workshops run in the cantons of Vaud, Jura and Valais. The goal now is to roll out the project in other cantons as well. The aim of working with girls from a young age is to increase the number of women working in ICT.
In 2019, an online forum will be set up to enable members of the coding club to share their results and experience and get online assistance and coaching, with the goal of creating a nationwide network of budding young female IT engineers.