Girls Get Chance to Try Technology on for Size
By: Monique Weber and Bianca Hammen
We feel that AT&T has an important story to tell the youth of today. We want to make them aware of the technological revolution that is going on, what it will mean for our lives and the types of jobs available in years to come. We are board members of AT&T’s women's network in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), and we wanted to organize a day focused on educating girls about technology in The Hague for several years, but it never quite worked. This year, we just decided to go for it and to participate in the yearly Girls Day event, taking place in various companies and countries across the region. The goal of Girls Day is to inspire girls to pursue technical fields to meet the increasing need for skilled technology talent. Through our women’s network we connected with our European colleagues and organized activities at our office in The Hague, Slovakia and Czech Republic.
A taste of technology
Most participants of the AT&T EMEA Girl Day were in secondary school, the perfect age for career awareness. Our employees introduced them to AT&T and our cutting edge technology. They got a first-hand taste of that technology through a Telepresence session between the four AT&T EMEA locations. The girls also got to talk with women in different technology and leadership positions and learned about career options.
"During my time in high school, there weren't many female role models in electrical engineering," said one of our colleagues. "By organizing the Girls Day, I hope a few girls got inspired and realize technology is a fun place. We want to have a balanced, diversified workforce."
Understanding the technology they use
For another colleague, Girls Day was an opportunity to help girls understand the technology they use every day. "I feel youth is losing touch with what makes the Internet. They are more users who don't understand the underlying technology," he said. "And when people don't understand how things work, they can be taken advantage of. This links directly with my day-to-day job for the Chief Security Office: without knowing the fundamentals of networking and operating systems, you can become an easy victim.”
"By showing these girls what components are involved behind the scenes to play a YouTube video of a 'vlogger' on their smartphone, I hope some at least consider technical study." In the event at the Hague office, he showed the girls how to set up a home network.
The first EMEA Girls Day was a beneficial experience for everyone involved. The girls gained a bit more understanding about how the technology they use every day works. And some of their curiosity and wonder reminded us AT&T employees how amazing today’s technological innovations really are! We are already looking forward to next year’s Girls Day!