Eighty girls in Year 7 recently attended a ‘Girls in Technology’ one-day conference at Matthew Flinders Anglican College, aimed at encouraging more girls to consider technology as a viable career option.
The students, including 65 girls from Matthew Flinders Anglican College and 15 from Glasshouse Christian College, learned from guest speakers and participated in workshops.
Guest speakers at the Girls in Technology conference included representatives from the Queensland Apple Education team and Flinders alumni (Class of 2011) Taylah Hasaballah who is a Product Manager at Google Australia and recognised as one of Australia’s top entrepreneurs in the ’30 under 30’ category by Anthill online entrepreneur community.
Head of Middle School Anita Gibson said the conference was an opportunity for students to expand their ideas of what is possible for their future career paths.
“We have invited guest speakers to share their practical experiences of working in new technology careers so that our students can appreciate the many opportunities available to them beyond graduation,” Anita said.
“We want our students to keep an open mind and consider how they can embrace the STEM subjects and extension opportunities at Flinders to prepare for careers of the future.”
The Girls in Tech conference at the College is timely in the wake of recent reports that girls are already chronically underrepresented in the technology sector.
The 2019 report, ‘Women in STEM Decadal Plan’ by the Australian Academy of Science, revealed that girls in Australia were the least likely out of all Asia-Pacific countries to undertake STEM subjects in school: just 27 per cent did so, compared with 76 per cent in China and 69 per cent in India.
In her presentation, Taylah Hasaballah spoke to the students about the changing nature of careers and how she uses her entrepreneurial and design thinking skills to excel in her technology role.
Students enjoyed hearing how Taylah built a successful online fashion start-up at age 17 and has since launched a platform to encourage more girls to explore technology careers.
Taylah’s presentation was also attended by 70 Year 7 boys at Matthew Flinders Anglican College.
Samantha Cacciola, Information Systems Manager at Flinders, said the conference highlighted that technology is not all about programming and gaming.
“Students learned that there is a creative design process which can be used to pursue any passion,” Samantha said.
“It has shown the girls how accessible, inclusive and fun technology can be, and also given them the opportunity to develop their teamwork, communication and presentation skills.”
Read more about learning at Flinders.