Belinda Parmar: Little Miss Geek

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Many people tend to believe that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) are “manly” subjects, and that women are not equipped to understand them. The problem does not lie in women’s brains; it is mostly cultural. Women do not go into technology because they are made to believe that they cannot go into technology.

As a matter of fact, a recent study compared school mathematics results across 86 different countries found that there was no difference between the scores of each gender. The problem is, thus, in the perception, and is not a biological one. Another study by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Michigan revealed that women may be less likely to have careers in STEM because they have more choices; not because they have less ability.

In 2012, Belinda Parmar took a step forward in order to help in solving this problem in her community in the United Kingdom. She launched her non-for-profit campaign “Little Miss Geek”, which aims at making technology more accessible and appealing to young women, and inspiring them to consider technology careers, which eventually will narrow the obvious gender gap in the technology industry.

The campaign was held in girls’ schools. It included an 11-week program of technology and robotics sessions, software development workshop, and lectures about great female technologists, scientists and inventors in order to inspire girls. According to Parmar, while over 5,000 students have taken part in the program, the number of girls taking computer science subject increased by 52% at a girls’ school in London.

Check this video about the campaign at Queen Elisabeth girl’s school:

Parmar has made the first major steps in a shift of attitude and has done so very effectively in her community. She explains her campaign, saying: “Diversity is important in any industry, but is especially relevant when it comes to technology. In addition, brilliant successful women in technology do exist, but they are not celebrated in the same way their male counterparts are”.

You may also be interested to watch the whole speech of Belinda Parmar at TEDxThessaloniki “Inspiring Girls to be Tech Pioneers”:

Technology is one of the most creative industries out there. Girls are always dreaming of using the latest technology, but they are not dreaming of creating it. While technology continues to develop and influence our daily lives, we have to do something as soon as possible, to urge females to take part in developing this dynamic industry.

References
ladygeek.com
mnn.com
huffingtonpost.co.uk

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