Together with female IT-professionals, female students, and CIOs, VHTO aims to increase the number of girls/women in IT-study programmes and professions. VHTO’s activities for girls/women in IT are called ‘DigiVita’.
In the Netherlands, programming is currently not yet part of the education curriculum. However, VHTO finds it very important that children learn IT skills from an early age. Several activities for girls are organized as a part of DigiVita, both inside and outside of school. For example, informatics guest-lectures by female IT professionals are given in secondary schools, and girls can participate in work shadowing or ‘speed dating’ with these professionals.
VHTO also developed the website www.digivita.nl (in Dutch) for girls in secondary school. The website contains a mix of short movies, pictures, and stories of women in IT, examples of innovations by (young) IT professionals, and information about IT studies/professions.
VHTO organizes ‘DigiVita Code Events’ in several cities across the Netherlands to teach girls how to code. During the DigiVita Code Events, female IT-students and professionals teach girls from 8-18 years old how to program. The girls are introduced to the world of possibilities that programming offers, such as building websites, apps, or games. Girls are active users of IT applications. With the programming events, VHTO wants to encourage girls to also become creators.
VHTO has been organizing the DigiVita Summer Camp for girls from 8 to 18 years old. For 4,5 days (and 1 night!), the girls learned how to code in a fun and interactive way, while ‘playing’ with robots, drones and game-design. During the Summer Camp, the girls could see and experience how IT is applied in different domains. The girls visited the Cisco headquarters for a day, but there was also time for sports and games. In the middle of the night, the girls visited the observatory of the Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy. As for the parents: per girl, one parent was allowed to join the Programming Pizza Party for parents. On the DigiVita website you will find pictures of the DigiVita Summer Camp.
VHTO invites IT companies and CIOs to make a financial contribution to DigiVita. VHTO is also looking for companies who would like to have one of their female IT professionals filmed (at cost-price) as a role model for girls. A short movie clip will be made and posted on our Dit Doe Ik (‘This is what I do in STEM’) online database www.ditdoeik.nl and on the DigiVita website, www.digivita.nl. If you are interested in supporting our work, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call +31 20 888 4220.