Celebrating International Women’s Day 2019: A day of workshops for girls on robotics, programming and human rights.
On Saturday, 9 March 2019, over 80 enthusiastic girls aged 6-18 gathered at HEPIA in Geneva for some hands-on workshops on human rights, robotics, and programming.
With support of the City of Geneva and as part of their Equality Week (celebrating International Women’s Day), RightsTech Women co-organized these workshops with partners HEPIA, CERN Micro Club, CERN Women in Technology, CERN Staff Association, On l’Fait and Informascience. HEPIA held an Open Day for the public on the same day, and the girls and their parents were invited to learn more about studying at HEPIA. These workshops followed others that RightsTech Women has co-organized or collaborated on with its partners at the end of last year.
The different workshops were honoured by the visit of the Mayor of Geneva, Mr. Sami Kanaan as well as the director of HEPIA, Mr. Yves Leuzinger. They enjoyed visiting the workshops, and RightsTech Women took the opportunity to discuss with them the need to include more women in science and technology, not only in Switzerland but also around the world. These workshops are a great step in this direction and RightsTech Women is really happy to be working with them on it.
Ellen Walker, the founder of RightsTech Women, explains why RightsTech Women chose to celebrate International Women’s Day by co-organizing a full day of workshops for girls on robotics, programming and human rights:
“Today, women are under-represented in tertiary education and jobs in STEM. To get more girls and women to study and pursue careers in STEM, we need to bring down the barriers they face, starting at school. We must encourage girls and women and build their confidence in and curiosity for STEM. RightsTech Women contributes to this by training girls and women about their human rights in STEM education and employment, and by sharing stories of female role models.”
There were eight workshops organized over the course of the day. These included two introduction sessions on the human rights to education, equality and science, given by RightsTech Women; two robotics workshops using PoppyErgo Jr. robots given by CERN Micro Club, RightsTech Women and On l’Fait; two hepiaLight touchscreen workshops given by HEPIA and Informascience; and, for the youngest participants, an introduction to computing given by CERN Women in Technology.
All workshops were offered for free; participants did not need to bring any of their own equipment; and absolute beginners were welcomed. This was possible thanks to the great work of a crew of volunteers who generously coached the girls and assisted with the logistics on the day.