By articulating outreach and teaching activities, female teachers and students of the Institutes of Computer Sciences and Electrical Engineering at Universidad de la República have developed an initiative to bring aspects of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) closer to female secondary school students with the aim of encouraging them to pursue training in this area.
The project began in 2016 with activities aimed at groups of teenage girls in secondary and technical schools as well as spaces for reflection for the public in general that would help break down stereotypes about women and technology. The goal is for these adolescents to have the chance to meet and interact with engineers who are working as teachers and researchers in the field, following the role model approach. Under the motto “actions, not words,” the initiative organized robotics, programing, electronics, communications and geographic software workshops.
During its execution, the project has been able to verify the existence of a significant demand for this type of activities among both girls and educational institutions, who have shown great enthusiasm in continuing their participation. Six hundred Uruguayan adolescents aged 12 to 15 have participated in these activities. The program also included the development of training materials with various activities, user guides, conceptual presentations, as well as software and hardware kits. All of this has strengthened the institutional coordination between Universidad de la República and the country’s secondary education centers.
Future editions plan to extend the initiative by bringing on board mathematics, physics and chemistry teachers from some of the university’s other institutes. At the same time, a project called MATE (a Spanish acronym for Women in Science and Technology) is also underway and offers intensive one-week courses on robotics, programming, electrical circuits and mathematics at the School of Engineering during the summer and winter holidays (in addition to the workshops), applying the role model approach.