On December 3rd we presented our project as part of the Online Roadshow in the west region Netherlands ‘More girls in MBO Technology’. The main question was “How do you get more girls interested in the technical courses of your MBO educational institution?”. During this meeting, information was provided so that institutes, government agencies and organisations can interest more girls or women in a technical course. It was full of concrete tips and knowledge exchange about gender diversity in technical-vocational courses.
Some of the takeaways that aligned significantly with our project:
- Parents play an important role in stimulating a child’s interest in technology. In our case, we saw that the father has a significant impact on his daughter’s future and career path in tech.
- Schools (in this case MBO) can make a difference and must therefore clearly show girls that they have a choice and that beta, technology, and IT is one of them.
- “Don’t fix the girls, fix the system”. It is important to create a safe social space in education and at work, to keep girls and women in the sector. We don’t need the girls to change, but we have to focus on changing the stereotypical environment in which they find themselves.
- Companies must do more, either with female role models or with guest lectures, by visiting schools and, in particular, showing teachers (also in secondary education) that as an employer, they want to see female students choose technology.
Attendees toured the finished VR experience we created shortly after we presented our project. The quotes made an intense and shocking impact. One of the reactions is a surprise that biases still exist after 40 years of time and policy.
We would like to thank VHTO for giving us the opportunity to showcase our project.
The VR environment is online and for everyone to see.