At a special Dojo event organised by Microsoft to mark EU Code Week, Microsoft and CoderDojo unveiled a new guide “Empowering the Future” aimed at providing coding clubs and mentors with practical supports in helping to attract and retain more girls in Dojo’s both in Ireland and across Europe.

The guide, which is free to download and print at https://coderdojo.com/girlsinitiative/, provides readers with practical tried and tested best practices which Dojos have used successfully to engage and sustain girls. Through the provision of this best practice guide, CoderDojo has an ambition to grow the number of girls attending Dojo Clubs from 29% to at least 40% over the next three years.

Speaking today Cathriona Hallahan, Managing Director, Microsoft Ireland said: “Microsoft has a long track record of taking an innovative approach to encouraging and engaging more girls in the exciting world of technology. Digital literacy and skills are essential for anyone to thrive in the 21st century digital economy and with this in mind this year we made a commitment to enable 10,000 girls in Ireland to engage with technology in a positive way over the next two years. Working with our partners we continue to find new ways to speak to girls and fuel their passion for technology.

“From research we undertook we know that despite becoming interested around the age of 11, girls start to lose interest in technology and specifically in the STEM subjects around the age of 15. Through this initiative with CoderDojo we have the opportunity to engage girls at an early age and keep their interest peaked as they approach those informative years. We hope that through the availability of this new free guide we can encourage more mentors to take an active role in engaging and retaining more girls to attend their local Dojo.”

Welcoming the launch of the guide for Dojos Giustina Mizzoni, Executive Director, CoderDojo Foundation said: “At CoderDojo we believe it is of paramount importance to society that collectively policy makers, formal education, industry and the informal learning sectors all band together and make a conscious, consistent, and collaborative effort to increase the number of girls choosing to learn how to create with technology. Our aim is to motivate all Dojos to make a conscious effort to grow the proportion of girls at their events to reach gender parity, this guide is the first step towards that through providing tangible best practices that can be adopted. In the CoderDojo movement there is an abundance of inspiring young female role models, we want to celebrate these girls already learning to code with CoderDojo and inspire their peers to join them.

The “Empowering the Future” guide was officially launched at a Microsoft organised Dojo at its Campus to mark EU Code Week. Students heard from Stephen Howell, Microsoft Coding Guru, and Mags Amond, EU Code Week Ambassador to Ireland. CoderDojo Ninjas also shared their experiences from their recent trip to Brussels to take part in a Microsoft EU Code Week event. EU Code Week is running across Europe until the 22nd of October to bring coding and digital literacy to more audiences in a fun way.

For further information on EU Code Week log onto http://codeweek.eu/. To download the new free guide entitled ‘Empowering the Future’ visit https://coderdojo.com/girlsinitiative/.

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