Change Magazine September 2017 Issue - Page 44

ourselves in the culture of our target audience for eighteen months before inventing a highly gamified, story-driven approach to teach unfamiliar skills to complete beginners. Beta-testing for one year with Oasis Academies in the UK showed that E.A.K. inspires female students to become researchers, teachers, problem solvers, team builders, writers, designers, and coders. A tool specifically designed to inspire girls to code and create, would allow them promising benefits. Primarily, this would help them grow with more confidence in our increasingly digital world. They can become future creators of influential technologies. Such will also allow them to earn an equal amount of wage with their male counterparts. Moreover, they can become the much-needed role models of the next generation. We aim to help improve gender equality in tech which in turn will address the chronic skills shortage in the tech market. We are designing and building E.A.K. to deliver essential skills and capabilities to girls to prepare them for 21st Century degrees and careers, so that they can participate in the economy and society. Our goal is to allow them to acquire the skills to enable them to become tomorrow’s innovators and creative problem-solvers. We are also creating a one-for-one scheme—for each E.A.K. account bought, a free account will be given to a girl in Syria or India—via NGOs we have partnered with, e.g. Techfugees. Around 100 million students have downloaded programs from the Hour of Code initiative, which suggests a sizeable market of users trying to up their skills. There are around 6000 code clubs teaching 83,000 students in the UK, and more than 10,000 teaching 100,000 students globally. The average ratio of boys to girls who attend coding clubs is estimated at approximately 5:1. Girls Who Code, 40 Change Magazine September 2017 a non-profit organisation providing coding clubs for girls aged 8+ in the US, has grown from 20 to 40,000 girls in just four years— this shows that there is far more interest when girls are targeted separately. By encouraging girls to start coding, we can start to grow a more gender-balanced digital workforce. This opens up new opportunities for employment for girls in the years ahead and will act as a bulwark as we seek to keep the leading tech economy. With only 5% of start-ups headed by women, the need to fuel innovation and new ideas is essential. By eliminating the negative perception that girls have of technology, and providing an engaging, creative way to effectively learn real coding languages, E.A.K. will help to prepare girls for 21st Century careers. About the Author Shwetal Shah, has worked as an Analyst for One point Consulting in London and now works at Drumroll HQ developing a video game teaching programming to kids. After graduating with a Masters in International Marketing, in her spare time she runs an organization to promote women scientists work (Explore-Science), made two documentaries to empower youth and women, and working on a project to tackle isolation (Morsel). Was recently named the Code first Girls Ones to Watch 2017, won the o2 Think Big Best STEM Award 2016, Business Launchpad female entrepreneur of the year award 2017, nominated for the Telegraph in association with BAE and Scottish Power Top 50 under 35 women in engineering list, Social Enabler Top 30 2017 and recently named a young leader for the Franco British leadership programme. Change Magazine September 2017 41