‘Cyber Girls’ Movement to Increase Female Interest and Awareness in Technology Returns to Galway

May 12 2014 Posted: 10:20 IST

‘Rails Girls Galway’ is part of a worldwide movement that hopes to bridge the gender divide in technology and to facilitate women in learning computer programming. Returning to Galway this year the event aimed at females interested in computing technology and engineering will take place this summer in NUI Galway.

The free weekend workshop will provide women with the tools and the collective learning community to build web applications and software services. It will be held on 20-21 June at the Insight Centre for Data Analytics located in the Dangan IDA Business Park.

The organisers are mainly young female IT researchers involved in local third level colleges, businesses, schools and volunteer digital makers’ clubs. Though primarily targeting the local female population, there will also be participants from across Ireland and from overseas.

The weekend event is free, is open to all women of any age from sixteen years upwards, and suitable for both those who wish to learn how to code and those with experience of programming. The workshops will use 'Ruby on Rails', a powerful web application framework for the Ruby programming language.

According to Myriam Leggieri, Insight researcher and one of the chief organisers, “Last year’s event in Galway was an outstanding success with women of all ages from a range of backgrounds learning together. We want to build on the dynamic that was so evident in 2013 and to make ‘Rail Girls’ an annual activity in a city that is and can develop even more as a vibrant hub for digital industries and innovation.”

Ireland needs a generation of indigenous young coders of both sexes to help lay the foundations of the ‘Knowledge Economy’ and create the products for a sustainable future. There is, in particular, a serious shortage of female IT developers in the country and across the world as well as in the professions of science, technology, engineering and maths professions generally.

“There is no reason why this should be the case except for a lack of exposure to such environments. Events such as 'Rails Girls' directly addresses the lack of exposure to technology and empowers girls to take the first step in learning these in-demand skills and acquiring the skills to conquer one of the last great frontiers of science, namely the World Wide Web” Ms Leggieri said.

The first event, launched by Linda Liukas and Karri Saarinen, was held in Helsinki in 2010. It now is a worldwide phenomenon. Karri summarised the philosophy behind the movement: “The Internet was built by, and for, boys. As a girl, one often feels like lacking the vocabulary to access it. With ‘Rails for Girls’, we want to demystify the world of web applications and encourage women to learn about software development and programming. We believe that women need the skills and language to understand that world.”

Further information and application forms are available at www.railsgirls.com/galway. There are a limited amount of places available so prompt registration is recommended. The closing date for applications is Thursday, 5 June.


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