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Day of the Girl: Employers help girls reach full potential

Day of the Girl: Employers help girls reach full potential

 October 09, 2018

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One of our very favourite days of the year at Where Women Work is International Day of the Girl, celebrated annually on 11 October.

Each year we celebrate the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts #TeamGirl campaign that focuses on the power and potential of girls. WAGGGS knows girls are already powerful, and that sometimes they just need a helping hand to reach their fullest potential. That's where Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting comes in, where all girls can be their own superheroes and use their power to change the world! That's why Where Women Work is a stong supporter of #TEAMGIRL.

Across the globe, International Day of the Girl provides a great opportunity to reinforce the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls' empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.

International Day of the Girl provides an important platform for change

Today's generation of girls is preparing to enter a world of work that is being transformed by innovation and automation. Educated and skilled workers are in great demand, but roughly a quarter of young people – most of them female – are currently neither employed or in education or training. Of the 1 billion young people – including 600 million adolescent girls – that will enter the workforce in the next decade, more than 90% of those living in emerging economies will work in the informal sector, where low or no pay, abuse and exploitation are common.

It is important that the global community rethinks how to prepare girls for a successful transition into the world of work and to draw attention to the most pressing needs and opportunities for girls to attain valuable skills for employability. So on International Day of the Girl, it’s important to consider how companies are supporting girls to pursue their dreams.

Here are some of the progressive companies whose events and initiatives help to break down barriers to success for girls all over the world.

Vodafone teaches girls to code

Coding is becoming one of the most in demand skills across industries as an increasing number of businesses now rely on computer code. Half of all programming openings are in industries outside of technology, such as finance, healthcare and manufacturing, while recent research found that coding has become a core skill that bolsters a candidate’s chances of commanding a high salary.

Vodafone, with the support of not-for-profit social enterprise Code: First Girls, will provide free coding training for 1,000 14-18-year-old girls across 26 countries in Europe, India, the Middle East, South Africa and Australasia as part of its #CodeLikeAGirl Programme. The training provides basic knowledge of computer languages and development programmes, including HTML, CSS, GitHub and Bootstrap, enabling students to develop a website by the end of the one-week course. 

Amazon gives students a glimpse behind the scenes

Amazon has been giving curious students an opportunity to learn more about the way the company works by inviting them on tours of some of their key sites. This is great support from Amazon supporting the career pathways of girls. Ahead of the inauguration of its new EU headquarters in Luxembourg, Amazon gave local school children the chance to see the new site before it officially opened. The children, all from Schoul an der Dallt, were invited to take part in a creative workshop and tour the new building. 

EY equips girls with computing skills

EY has collaborated with Girls Who Code – a national non-profit organization that seeks to inspire, educate and prepare girls with computing skills for the 21st century – to help close the gender gap by bringing more women into STEM careers. Their workshops will teach girls everything from mobile app development to robotics to web design.

“Computing skills are the most sought-after in the US job market, with demand continuing to grow, but last year only 26 percent of professional computing occupations were held by women,” said Amy Brachio, Principal, Ernst & Young LLP and the EY Global and Americas Advisory Risk Leader. “Collaborating with Girls Who Code is another stride in EY’s path to develop a gender equal world and advance women in the field of technology.”

Northrop Grumman inspires students about space

Northrop Grumman inspires students and teachers in building their skills and interest in space. Space Camp® provides students with real-world opportunities to apply their skills and knowledge in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and their interest in space, in a series of interactive exercises. Students will have the chance to build and launch rockets, use astronaut-training equipment and conduct a simulated space shuttle mission. Teachers attending Space Camp® take part in the Space Academy for Educators, a program that provides them with the tools to enhance how they present STEM concepts in their classrooms.

Northrop Grumman regularly teams up with students to participate in a variety of STEM-focused activities including using 3D printing and modern electronics to analyze data or undergo computer coding activities.

McDonald’s reduces barriers to youth employments

McDonald’s initiative Youth Opportunity aims to reduce barriers to employment for two million young people by 2025 through pre-employment job readiness training, employment opportunities and workplace development programs. 

“With 64 million young people unemployed worldwide, the youth employment challenge is vast and affects all countries. This new initiative by McDonald’s has the potential to support many young women and men, especially in disadvantaged areas, with relevant skills for employability and targeted strategies to boost their transition into quality jobs — jobs that protect their rights and support their development,” said Sukti Dasgupta, Chief, Employment and Labour Market Policies Branch, International Labour Organization.

Rio Tinto’s Robot Wars inspires girls in Australia

The 'RoboCup' is one of several educational programmes that Rio Tinto supports across Australia. Each year, hundreds of students from across Western Australia descend on a vast gymnasium at Perth's Curtin University to act out the ultimate Hollywood blockbuster fantasy – a robot war. In this epic two-day event, the RoboCup Junior WA Championships, teams from schools from across the state guide their robots through a series of challenges to prove they've built the smartest, strongest cyborg on the block.

"RoboCup is a lot of fun. The students love it. But it's also teaching them the principles of automation and artificial intelligence. It's a long way from a dancing robot to an automated drill rig, truck or train but the coding skills are just the same,” said Rio Tinto's senior adviser, Community Investment, Jackie Walsh.

AECOM opens its doors to inspire young engineers 

AECOM invited 50 children into its London campus for an Open House day to find out more about the amazing engineering that goes on behind the scenes of daily life. The children took part in fun, hands-on activities delivered by members of AECOM’s engineering teams throughout the day to help them learn about different specialisms of engineering and find out more about what a career in engineering would be like.

“Stereotypes about a career in engineering or construction are still rife, but the reality is very different. It’s important for young people to discover the exciting and intellectually challenging work engineers do to build a better world, from using virtual reality to the basic principles of building bridges and electrical conduction,” said David Barwell, AECOM Chief Executive, UK & Ireland.

Schneider Electric supports engineering and science events for girls

A team of STEM Ambassadors from Eurotherm by Schneider Electric took part in the Big Bang Fair South East. Targeted at 9 -19 year olds, this interactive engineering and science event attracts more 7,000 youngsters and teachers for an exciting day of interactive displays and workshops. 

"Even though companies often report a shortage of women in engineering, we actually find plenty of girls interested in science and technology at these events," explains Amber Watkin, Application Marketing Engineer at Schneider Electric’s Eurotherm. "What we need to do more is demonstrate the opportunities available for them in the workplace and encourage them to choose the subject as career. One of the ways we do this is to offer one week work experience placements where they can have a go at hardware, software and mechanical design as well as learn about career paths and the qualifications they might need.”

Arcadis hosts workshops to encourage girls into STEM 

Arcadis understands the importance of inspiring the next generation of female engineers. That's why Arcadis supports their women in presenting at conferences and hosting talks and workshops for girls around the world to teach them about the industry and to encourage them to fulfil their potential, regardless of stereotypes or perceptions about women in engineering.

In Delaware Valley University, Alexandra King and Emily Movsesian from Arcadis US presented at the Girls STEM conference. With more than 100 middle-school aged girls from across the Philadelphia region in attendance, the pair presented about their paths to becoming environmental and water resources engineers, and their roles at Arcadis. 

Western Union supports girls in politics

Western Union has teamed up with Women Political Leaders (WPL) to encourage more girls from around the world to consider careers and involvement in politics, with the goal of increasing female representation in political and government roles and driving greater diversity of thinking in policy making and governance.

This alliance allows girls to meet inspiring women politicians from all over the world, providing a significant opportunity to make a difference in the girls’ motivation and aspiration towards becoming leaders themselves.

Do you want your work to make a positive impact?

At Vodafone, Amazon, EY, McDonald’s, Rio Tinto, AECOM, Schneider Electric, Arcadis, Western Union or further companies - your work can make a difference in helping girls around the world meet their full potential. If you’re interested in joining a company that gives back to the community and especially supports the advancmeent of girls, research the latest latest career opportunities available.

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Disclosure: Where Women Work researches and publishes insightful evidence about how its paid member organizations support women's equality.

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