She’s giving “the girl code” a whole new meaning.
For 16-year-old Audrey Pe, coding was a middle-school hobby that developed into a deep fascination and interest. She was taking online courses at Codecademy and Code.org, and eventually discovered that this could be something she would want to do for the rest of her life.
However, “upon entering high school,” says Audrey, “I felt a lack of support to pursue tech as a career, mostly because of my inability to find a role model in the tech industry.” Her research showed that one in four tech workers are women, but they’re being paid 18 to 22 percent less than men in the same field.
“After reading about the various tech diversity initiatives of orgs like Girls Who Code and #BUILTBYGIRLS, I found out that there isn’t a lack of interest for girls in computer science, but a lack of exposure to women in tech,” she continues.
Instead of frustration and disillusionment, Audrey felt only determination. At 15, she founded Women in Tech (WiTech), a blog that featured interviews with diverse real-life women who went after their tech dreams. “Talk to any successful woman, and she’ll point to another woman that has inspired her to be where she is today,” she points out.
Not long after, she realized that WiTech could be even more inclusive, and it pivoted to becoming a community organization.
“From a team of one, we are now a team of 18 students from colleges and high schools across Metro Manila,” Audrey says. “We realized that it was one thing to write about inspiring women in tech, but another to expose students and educators to the various accomplishments of women in tech.”
Tech is, after all, about making the world a better place, and that means becoming anyone you want regardless of your gender. “If we want to maximize [the potential of tech], we need everyone to be able to access tech opportunities,” Audrey adds.
On March 3, WiTech is hosting the conference for women in tech for students and by students in the Philippines. WiTCon will be a one-day event open to educators and students in high school and college, with an aim to promote closing the gender gap in the field and using innovation to make a difference.
It will feature speakers from Accenture and Ateneo who are all women working in different aspects of tech, workshops on topics like Robotics 101 and Tech Startups, and a panel discussion with members of the WiTech team. Attendees are also entitled to networking opportunities to help further their dreams in tech.
It’s important to note that WiTech’s team includes not only smart young women, but men, as well. “We cannot exclude men from the conversation and need to work together for gender equality,” Audrey says. “In light of our inclusive mindset, our conference is open to all genders!”
WiTCon will take place on March 3, 2018 at Accenture Client Visitor Center, Taguig. The event has a door fee of P400 and will start at 8:30 AM. For more details and to sign up, click here. RSVP by Feb. 20. Visit WiTech’s website for further information, and to get your daily dose of tech inspiration.