gender equality

What I’ve learnt from running NodeGirls and a SuperDaughter Day event


Valeria de GoedeOct 20, 2018

Last week I was sitting at my desk reminiscing and looking over the photos from the events I had organised in the past two weeks. On the 17th of March I organised along with a very supportive volunteering team the first NodeGirlsworkshop of 2018. NodeGirls is a community that provides a friendly atmosphere for women who would like to try programming for the first time or would like to learn something new about JavaScript and/or Node.js. On the 24th of March I volunteered to organise the only International Women’s Day event for young girls called SuperDaughter Day. SDD is an event run by WORK180 and Tech Girls Movement.This is by far one of the most challenging events that I have led, supported by the most awesome team of moms, dads, engineers, and volunteers.

So why do I do this?

I knew that I was committed to take part of this increasing movement that supports women in technology when I was talking to Gerard, my company’s Head of Technology. We were discussing on how supportive and encouraging it is nowadays for women to consider a change in technology and how girls get heaps of support when it comes to exploring STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) activities. I just felt a bit disappointed that this movement hadn’t happened earlier when I was a kid. I remembered getting in trouble for dismantling my walk-man and taking the laser out of my CD-Player to see how they worked. I don’t think I was encouraged enough to explore and ended up thinking I wasn’t smart enough. This feeling inspired me to look for a change and be a part of a solution for future generations. I knew this would be my motivation to continue to volunteer and be part of a movement that would encourage more young girls to become our future Scientists, Engineers, Mathematicians and Technologists.

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It hit me even more when I read last week the Linkedin status of one of the mothers that volunteered for SuperDaughter Day. She mentioned, “Recent research has shown girls think they are equal to boys at age 4 but believe boys are better than them by age 6. Events like [SuperDaughter Day] these giving confidence in tech from an early age are essential for future equality goals”. How could I not be passionate to make sure girls grow confident in their abilities?

The outcome:

Relief, gratitude and support. I noticed during the coding bootcamp, a few of the attendees came up to me to personally express their gratitude for the opportunity to attend an event where they could learn how to code in JavaScript. They left feeling encouraged and relieved to see that coding wasn’t something impossible.

Notably, during SuperDaughter Day as I was teaching a 7 year old batman girl to write code into Arduino to animate her JewelBot, I looked up. I noticed little superhero girls, running around in their costumes exploring STEM activities with their parents. Everyone was enjoying the activities, smiles all around, children teaming up, blocks tumbling, robots moving, fingers moving in the air, balloons making sounds, LED’s flashing, play-dough covered in feathers, lighting up. All the planning, coordinating, calling, emailing, stressing paid off. Watching parents unite, volunteers & mentors taking time from their weekend to make this happen.

The backbone of events is not only formed by the planning and the organisation, but the time and effort put in by every parent, organiser and volunteer. I learned that communication, sharing concerns, solution oriented thinking and a purpose is what has glued everything to happen. Meeting people face to face and not relying only on technology makes planning events more personable. It makes you want to ensure that everything goes well. I can’t express how grateful I am to have met such supportive people. They become friends and role models to learn from.

I could list down all the tools and planning software that helped us be more organised, but the true ingredients are the people that give their time. This is why I enjoy what I do and the community that has given me the opportunity to participate in it.

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Lastly, I am grateful for those companies, who seek, raise their hand and dedicate a small portion of their resources to make this happen. Thank you to organisers and volunteers of NodeGirls in Melbourne and to the many sponsors who support the movement. Thank you to the parents, volunteers and superheroes that made SuperDaughter Day possible — Thank you sponsors — your contribution is a small seed that contributes to the confidence in each girl’s future!

Below are some of the people who I would like to give special thanks:

  • Veronica Munro

  • Tanya Butenko

  • Sara Chipps

  • Valeria Ignatieva

  • Lina Chan

  • Helen Whitehead

  • Steministar- Jacqueline Tate

  • Akemi Joslyn Cade

  • Renee Gaspar

  • Tya Cao

  • Kylie Sy

  • Jenine Beekhuyzen

  • Sara Ramirez M

  • All the volunteers for NodeGirls & SuperDaughter Day

  • My mom

  • Duncan Banks and my team at Ippon Australia, Gerard, Valentin, Sherwin, Ben, Nish and Thomas

Companies who have been incredibly supportive for NodeGIrls:

  • Ippon Australia

  • JewelBots

  • Common Code

  • Redwolf + Rosch

  • AWS

  • A Cloud Guru

  • MYOB

Companies that supported SuperDaughter Day

  • WORK180

  • Tech Girls Movement

  • Norman Disney & Young

  • Green Hat Workshops

  • Readify

  • Technology One Ltd

  • Aristocrat

  • Caltex

  • Powercor

  • Thales

  • University of Adelaide

  • University of Technology Sydney

  • Shell

  • Edith Cowan Uni

  • OMG Tech

  • Spark NZ

  • Hobart’s LiveTiles


About the author

Valeria de Goede


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