On International Women's Day, Thursday, March 8, 2012, VHTO organized in collaboration with IBM a full day conference on girls, women and ICT.
Around 150 participants from IT companies, ICT professionals, researchers, managers, IT studies and computer science teachers from secondary schools and higher education, girls from secondary schools and students attended the program.
09.30: Entry and Registration
10.00: Welcome to IBM & opening conference
10.15: ICT interviewing the new generation of stars
10.45: The Digital Agenda: actions and good practices in Europe in collaboration ECWT Eva Fabry, Director ECWT and Nina Kotte, Norwegian N-PoC of the ECWT
11.15: Interactive roundtable discussions led by experts
12.30: Spoken column Miranda Valkenburg, Rotterdam University
13.30: The Shrinking Woman in Computer Science, Patricia Lago, VU
13.50: Connect Girls & Inspire the Future: Stories of Success Cisco, IBM,Capgemini,Oracle and Platform Women & ICT
15.00: Presentation to the minister of the Action-plan 'Girls,Women and ICT'
16.00: Presentation of ICT-Mirror awards 2012
16.15: Spectacular closing & drink
Kees Donker, Executive for Public Innovation and Technology, IBM, welcomed the participants and expressed his concern about too few people for the IT sector.
Cocky Booy, Director VHTO complemented with the facts: "The Netherlands has an under- representation of women in ICT: only 10%. A more diverse population, both quantitatively and qualitatively is highly important. Five years ago VHTO had with IT professionals from companies and educational forces started the project ICT-star. A key element in this campaign is to give girls and schools better information and to link them with female IT professionals. The database "Mirror" was set up, full of women working in science / technology and ready to act as role models for girls. They give guest lectures at schools and enable girls to have speed dating with them about their work. With success! Overall, the influx of girls in science / engineering programs increased. But unfortunately not in IT. Therefore it is good that the European Commission now also puts the issue on the political agenda."
The plenary was followed by a separate program for adults and for students. The forty girls from high-school participated in masterclasses and speed dating sessions with female ICT professionals. Adults participated in round table discussions, followed lectures and speeches.
Commissioner Neelie Kroes video message: 'Let us make it clear that ICT is for everyone. That ICT careers for both sexes. That ambition is good. However, if changes are slower than we want, we should realize that changes begin with ourselves. It is our responsibility to our talents - we owe it to ourselves and all women are required. There are opportunities for taking girls and women on board, be courageous, and grab these opportunities!
During the afternoon session Patricia Lago, Associate Professor at Free University, talked about her research on the representation of women in ICT.
"Only 19% of students in science, mathematics and computer science are women. Netherlands scores the only all EU countries. Also in the Netherlands a strong decrease in the proportion of women as you pass in the scientific career in Computer Science. This is remarkable, because female students achieve better academic results. It has partly to do with the culture in society. It also depends together with a lack of female role models for girls. There is also a system that sustains itself: the stereotype effects. If a new employee is sought, one seeks in its own network to a kind of clone of himself. Encouraging more women in ICT, you should use school and college students make it clear that it is for women interesting. You need to have comitted female role models."
Two new role models, student Darifa Agarbi and Computer Science student at the TU / e Astrid Pieterse, presented VHTO's Action Plan "Girls, women and ICT ' to Carlien to Scheele, Director Emancipation of the Ministry of Education.
The last speaker of the day was Director Pim van der Feltz, Google Netherlands, who late 2011 had handed over 550,000 euros donated to the Science and Technology Platform for getting more people and especially young girls interested in mathematics and computer science.