‘Girls in Tech’ launches in Guyana, to promote gender equality

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The Guyana chapter for ‘Girls in Tech’ was officially launched on Thursday at GT Motorsport, Thomas Lands, Georgetown.

‘Girls in Tech’ is a global non-profit organisation in 36 countries and believes in the development and better quality of life for girls through innovation and technology.

The aim is to empower the next generation of women leaders through education and mentoring in the technical and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) field.

Evie Gurchuran, Managing Director for Girls in Tech Guyana said that a number of programmes will be available to support young girls interested in the tech field through mentor sessions with professionals.

The programmes, however, are only available for girls 13 years and older.

Evie Gurchuran, Managing Director for Girls in Tech Guyana

“What we do is work towards ending gender equality and prepare girls for the working world in technical fields and we’re also ensuring that the women already in technical fields are getting the support they need to flourish,” Gurchuran said.

The launch on Thursday was to network and encourage women to join the technical field and also to get partners and sponsors on board to develop the organisation.

A number of young women came out and interacted with professionals.

Girls in Tech Guyana is looking to partner with the University of Guyana and other tertiary institutions to promote entrepreneurship and innovation for girls. The Managing Director said they will also be looking to promote gender equality in the workplace.

“We want to create support for what matters most and close career gaps, such as compensation or pay, opportunity for promotion, work-life balance and ongoing skills learning,” Gurchuran said.

While the primary focus of Girls in Tech is to help women, Gurchuran said they really can’t help the girls if they leave the boys behind.

“Even though we are pushing to close these gaps for women, it really is with the intention of building the capacity for Guyana’s development and that includes men and women,” Gurchuran said.

Women in Guyana through Girls in Tech will be able to access jobs globally and the country will also benefit from development in the technical field, which is much needed.

Some of the programmes planned for 2019/2020 for Girls in Tech Guyana include, coffee and code, a monthly meet up with girls in the tech field; open mic programme with professional women in the tech field to discuss challenges and offer support; five days tech coding camp; girls got game – a gaming tournament for girls and a tech/career fair and a fundraising and appreciation gala.

Tamika Henry-Fraser, Deputy Director at the Guyana Forensic Science Laboratory.

During the launch, some of the leading female professionals in the technical field shared their stories and encouraged young girls to join the field.

Tamika Henry-Fraser, Deputy Director at the Guyana Forensic Science Laboratory, said it was difficult for her to find role models for what she wanted to become. She believes this is still the issue with probably every little girl who wants to be in the tech field.

“Stem careers, engineers they are about solving problems, everyday problems in your life, mine was crime and mystery that use to upset me so I wanted to fix it…it was very difficult for me to find examples of what I want to be,” Henry-Fraser said.

Cyber Security Manager at the National Data Management Authority, Muriana McPherson told the gathering that there are not enough persons within the cybersecurity unit and encouraged persons to join.

Cyber Security Manager at the National Data Management Authority, Muriana McPherson

“We in Guyana need a set of persons who are equipped with a set of knowledge, skills and ability to secure the information systems, it’s one of the areas that we would want locals to manage because we are looking after the security of our infrastructure,” McPherson said.

She said anything worth accomplishing takes a lot of hard work and you must be willing to embrace change, take her for example, who started out working at a bank with a business management degree.

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