Microsoft Hires Barbie To Attract Girls Into Computer Engineering
Not only has Microsoft recognized the fact that most workers in the science and technology field are comprised of men, but they are making efforts to change that with their new DigiGirlz program.
DigiGirlz is a week long program, hosted worldwide, designed specifically for the purpose of giving high school girls the chance to learn about jobs in the technology industry. Not only that, but they will have an opportunity to meet with Microsoft employees and participate in technology workshops.
The latest statistics reveal that under 10% of engineers in the US are women, and of those, only 18% get degrees in computer sciences. Microsoft are attempting to raise those numbers by teaming up with Mattel and the Girl Scouts of Northern California in a bid to educate and inspire young girls. They want to do this by introducing them to the opportunities and career choices available in the tech industry whilst also breaking down stereotypes associated with these largely male-dominated careers. Also featured as part of the program is Mattel’s signature doll Barbie, this time as a computer engineer wearing hipster glasses, a Bluetooth wireless headset and some other tech bits to kick-start her career.
Here is an extract from the program
Microsoft is proud to offer technology programs that target youth. This one-day event, held at multiple Microsoft locations worldwide, is designed to provide high school girls with a better understanding of what a career in technology is all about.
During the event, students interact with Microsoft employees and managers to gain exposure to careers in business and technology and to get an inside look at what it’s like to work at Microsoft. This exciting event provides girls with career planning assistance, information about technology and business roles, thought-provoking exercises, and interesting Microsoft product demonstrations. By participating in the Microsoft DigiGirlz Day, young women can find out about the variety of opportunities available in the high-tech industry and can explore future career paths.
Microsoft held its first DigiGirlz Summit in Silicon Valley where over 200 Girl Scouts, community leaders, government officials and Microsoft employees were in attendance. Only 10% of those Girl Scouts managed to complete an online training course and achieve their Computer Smarts badge. After the DigiGirlz Summit, a panel of women from a range of areas including the government and academia spoke about the most effective methods to encourage young girls towards tech-related majors and careers. One of which was Mylene Padolina, a Microsoft diversity consultant responsible for the overall management of DigiGirlz, who said “We try to give them a broad view of the technology and the products we create, along with the different kinds of positions it takes to make all that happen. We want these girls to know that IT’s not just for boys. IT’s not just for geeks. Technology innovation is for everyone.”
Diversity in most fields can only be beneficial. It is a key element to designing the products that customers want to use. [Microsoft via WinRumors]