“Why do you think more girls in Indonesia are interested to learn IT?” Dick Costolo @dickc, the CEO of Twitter himself, asked me on a rare opportunity to have breakfast at a roundtable discussion with NGOs for @TwitterForGood during his visit to Jakarta. He was intrigued by his visit to University of Indonesia the day before, where he met the Dean of Computer Sciences, who is a woman, Dr. Mirna Adriani and seen women students were actively participated in building projects using twitter data.
I was invited to the roundtable as the co-founder of Girls in Tech Indonesia @GirlsinTechID. We (me @salsabeela, @anantya, @adheRiya) founded Girls in Tech Indonesia in 2011, to inspire more women to initiate change with technology, using technology to solve problems in society and also to use technology as the catalyst for their success. The number of women in IT sector in Indonesia was only around 20%. That’s why, I was surprised to hear from Dick Costolo that the number is even less, in the States.
There are main 3 activities we’re trying to do at Girls in Tech Indonesia:
- Create awareness and highlights role models by creating meetups that inviting successful women who work or starting her own company in Technology sector, to speak and share the knowledge they have, their experience in having a career in technology, and what impact they’ve made to society. I wrote a book called Girls & Tech, also to fulfilled this purpose.
- Sharing practical knowledge by giving small workshops to introduce tech tools that they can use to overcome on any pressing needs of women in Indonesia
- Private chat for women entrepreneurs, we call it Girls Chat, aims to give channel for women entrepreneurs to share their problems in running their company, while getting support and learning from listening to each other’s experiences.
As a former web developer and a girl in IT, I understand that women communicate and work differently. I personally believe, women need to be inspired with how technology can change life, what’s the result of technology products that is fun and applicable to use for their daily life. Let them relate technology to their own cause, let them find their goals and objective in building innovation, adds with curiosity, then the brighter future, with more participation of women in technology, is near.
Dick Costolo mentioned few times of his concerned about the gender gap in tech. He’s trying to solve this problem by supporting Girls Who Code initiative back in the States and also to partner with the University of Indonesia to create the #Twitter4WaniTek scholarship, which will fund every year for the next 3 years 5 scholarships for women to study Computer Sciences.
Thank you @Twitter team, especially Julie @tweetinjules , who has given us tremendous opportunity and support. This is just a beginning. Cheers to #AwalBaru and good luck for Twitter Indonesia @TwitterID!