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Girls and tech at Geneva’s Equality Week

Promoting girls’ “Yes we can!” attitude towards computer science


During Equality Week (Semaine de l’égalité) in Geneva, which this year was dedicated to gender issues around the digital world, CERN volunteers organised a day packed with games and workshops to spark girls’ interest in computer science. 

On Saturday, 9 March, members of CERN Women In Technology (WIT), CERN Micro Club, and the NGO RightsTech Women, in collaboration with HepiaOnl’fait and Informasciences, prepared a lot of fun activities for girls aged six to eighteen. 

Participants above ten years old were invited to programme Poppy Ergo Jr, a robot devised for educational purposes that can be instructed to move, dance, draw and even work as a little catapult. The younger participants were introduced to the logic of coding via fun games, and encouraged to explore computers’ hidden components. The event took place at the Hepia Engineering School and involved 20 volunteers from CERN and RightsTech Women, for the benefit of more than 100 children and teenagers. 

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One of the participants playing with the Poppy Ergo Jr robot during a coding workshop organised by CERN Micro Club and RightsTech Women (Image: Monika Ambrozowicz/CERN)

Despite the increase in demand for computer experts, the number of women choosing a Bachelor’s degree in computer science has been falling since the 1980s in several countries. To help reverse this trend, CERN also took an active role in the International Day of Women and Girls in Science on 11 February 2019 and will host the next International Girls in ICT Day on 25 April 2019.