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Computer Girls

22 July 2004

Computer Girls

The future female leaders of IT in New Zealand will converge at Waikato University this Friday (23 July), for the second annual Women in Computing @ Waikato event.

Over 120 Waikato and Bay of Plenty high school students will attend the event - twice as many as last year.

Run by the Waikato University Computer Science department, Women in Computing is about encouraging more female students to consider a career in Information Technology.

Computer Science Senior Lecturer, Dr Margaret Jefferies, says current figures show women are hugely under-represented in IT careers in New Zealand, which mirrors what is happening overseas.

“One of the reasons for this is the lack of visible role models that girls can relate to. They do not see themselves in the IT roles that attract attention in the media,” says Dr Jefferies.

“What we would like them to know is that there is something in IT for everyone. It is unfortunate that the geeky aspects of IT are the most visible. While it would be wrong to downplay the importance of these to them, there are many jobs in IT where geekiness is not a desirable attribute.” She says there are many successful women in computing who cannot imagine themselves in any other career.

“The students need to know about these women, who are having a huge impact on the development of IT, as well as enjoying a great lifestyle.” Students in Years 11, 12 and 13 nominated by their schools will spend half a day at the University, listening to ‘role model’ speakers from academia and industry and taking part in hands-on workshops designed to give them a taste of what their future could hold. Women in Computing @ Waikato will be held on Friday 23 July 2004 between 9.30 a.m. and 1.00 p.m. at the Academy of Performing Arts, Waikato University Hamilton Campus.


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