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Inspiring the next generation of female coders

28 April 2021 News

More than 50 female learners and their teachers from Olievenhoutbosch Secondary School were invited to attend an event at 22 On Sloane, hosted by GirlCode and RS Components South Africa, for a day of inspiration, technology and fun.


(Left to right) Koena Hlahla from RS Components SA, Zandile Mkwanazi from Girlcode and Sharleen Naicker from RS Components SA.

These coding and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) workshops are coordinated by GirlCode with the main focus of inspiring the next generation of coders, engineers and innovators. Zandile Keebine, co-founder of GirlCode, said it was amazing to see how much the girls enjoyed the workshop. “This will be the first event of many post-lockdown, and we have received great feedback from all in attendance, especially the enthusiastic young ladies from Olievenhoutbosch Secondary School,” she said.

“The reason we started these events was to create awareness and to build a community around programming and engineering, among other interests. We believe we have achieved this over the years and would like to continue our teaching programmes and workshops through similar initiatives. These events have become a platform for young females to be exposed to more than just computers. By partnering with RS South Africa and others over the years we have been able to extend our reach and impact even more young women from across the country,” Keebine continued.


Olievenhoutbosch Secondary School learners listen to Wesley Hood’s (RS Components) presentation on STEM education.

RS Components, a market leader in the industrial and electronics space, showcased some of its education technology to the learners in the hopes of inspiring them to get involved with technology, coding and engineering as they progress through their schooling. Mellisa Govender, marketing director for RS, said that she was in awe of the work being done by GirlCode: “This type of initiative is a wonderfully creative way of introducing the next generation to STEM. At RS we’re passionate about finding innovative ways of connecting young people with technology and exposing them to what their future careers might be. Currently there is a significant lack of female representation in the ICT sector and it’s organisations like GirlCode that are starting to address the issue and make strides in changing the status quo.”

Attendees had the opportunity to interact with senior coders, developers and engineering scholars. Professor Tania Hannekom, function head for the department of electrical, electronic and computer engineering at the University of Pretoria, had a pre-recorded message for the learners about breaking gender-based boundaries and misconceptions, saying that: “Engineering knows no gender, race or class. The only requirement to become an engineer is to have an incurable curiosity about the way the world around you works as well as having the passion to solve problems using science and technology.”

Professor Hannekom also added that she was glad that there were ‘grassroots level’ initiatives such as this workshop that aim to inspire young people in the country. “We have such amazing talent in South Africa and all that is needed is exposure to the endless possibilities that STEM education brings. Good luck to all of the young women who attended this event, I look forward to welcoming some of you to my lectures in the not-too-distant future,” she said.

For more information about RS South Africa’s STEM programme email education.za@rs-components.com

For more information on GirlCode visit www.girlcode.co.za




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