From space technology to spider silk and the bio-economy – over 2 000 women and girls gather for three different technology events
On 10 and 11 October, events are taking place all over Finland for women and girls with the aim of attracting more of them to the field of technology. At the Shaking Up Tech event on Thursday 10 October, Aalto University, LUT University and the University of Tampere will encourage talented female high school students to join the field of technology. On Friday 11 October, the Soroptimists organisation from Helsinki metropolitan area and Heureka will showcase interesting tech jobs to high school students, and the Women in Tech event will bring together female experts in technology.
Studies show that girls aged 10 to 11 are still as good at mathematics as boys and are equally as interested in natural sciences, mathematics and technology. By the age of 14, differences between girls’ and boys' skills and interests start to appear and by high school the differences are clear.
Marja Niemi, Development Manager at Aalto University and the lead designer of the Shaking Up Tech event, knows that inspiring examples and meaningful encounters can play an enormous role in career plans.
‘According to our survey, last year’s first ever Shaking up Tech event significantly increased participants' interest in technology. After the event, twice as many people responded that they were very interested in the field than before the event.’
Karola Salminen participated in the Shaking up Tech event last year, and this autumn she started her studies in mechanical and civil engineering at Aalto University.
‘The speeches at the event were encouraging and inspiring, and the mechanical and civil engineering students who introduced the industry convinced me of my choice.’
The Shaking up Tech event and its workshops will be spread across three campuses in Espoo, Lappeenranta and Tampere. At these workshops you can learn more about the brain, space technology, spider silk, electron microscopes and cosmetic chemistry. At the Heureka’s Girls' Day event, you can delve into a police crime lab, the bioeconomy, or kitchen chemistry.
The Women in Tech week will take place between the 7th and 11th October. The week culminates on 11th October at the Women in Tech Forum, a gathering of technology experts at the Finlandia Hall.
‘By 2021 technology companies will need 53,000 new experts. Shaking up Tech, and the event organised by the Soroptimists and Heureka, have the goal of attracting more women and girls to the technology industry, which is really important to the industry's diversity,’ says Piia Simpanen, Head of Growth Programmes at Technology Industries of Finland.
There is lots of collaboration between technology events aimed at different age groups. On International Girl's Day, Friday 11th October, Professor of Practise Risto Sarvas will invite a dozen students from Otaniemi High School to Aalto University to experience a day in the life of a professor.
‘The day for the high school students also includes them performing at Heureka's Girls' Day event, where they will talk about girls' perspective on technology.’
Johanna Naukkarinen from LUT University emphasises the importance of getting women into technology design if the features of products and services are to be diversified.
‘For example, teaching in many technology topics can be very device-centric, whereas girls are often more interested in what the devices can do.’
Tel. +358 50 430 2084
Tel. +358 40 685 3134
Tel. +358 40 198 1488
Girls' Day in Heureka:
Tel. +358 40 562 7302
Head of Growth Programmes
Technology Industries of Finland
Tel. +358 40 019 9399
A day as a Professor:
Professor of Practice
Tel. +358 50 384 1553