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Dutch Girls Enthusiastic About Coding

On Ada Lovelace Day, 14 October more than 60 Dutch girls (aged 8 to 18) attended the DigiVita Code Event in Amsterdam to learn how to code. Week, an initiative by Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission, and her ‘Young Advisors’. The girls participated in several coding workshops guided by female IT professionals and students. Among others learning how to program a robot and how to build a website, game, or app.

The event was organized by VHTO,

the Dutch national expert organization on girls/women and science/technology, and the Dutch N-PoC of ECWT that wants to encourage girls to not just be consumers of technology, but also creators of it!

The girls were welcomed by Cocky Booij, managing director of VHTO, followed by coding workshops, such as designing and printing objects with a 3D printer, creating animations in Scratch or Blender, coding in Ruby on Rails, and programming LEGO Mindstorms robots. The girls were very enthusiastic. Moë (10): ‘Wow, the robot on the floor is doing what I told it to do on the computer. I didn’t know you had to tell robots what to do, I just thought they did things by themselves.’

In the Netherlands girls and women are highly underrepresented in Computer Science (CS) and IT jobs. Often because they have a limited view of the possibilities, have no female role models, or think that IT is only for boys. Therefore VHTO launched ‘DigiVita’ in January 2014, a national program to get more girls involved in CS. DigiVita organizes a wide range of activities together with CS teachers in secondary school, and extracurricular activities like chat sessions with female IT professionals, the annual national app design competition Digibattle, and Code Events for girls.