We believe in closing the gender gap in technology. Therefore, we joined the Student Mentoring Program which aims to support young women studying STEM to get a job in this field. Read more to find out why mentoring programs are important and to learn about the participants’ experience firsthand.
The future of technology is feminine, but only if we make it work
in Runtastic, We strive to make our workplace more comfortable Diverse, fair and inclusiveThis is why we define ourselves desired inclusion status (DSI). DSI is an official target of the company. Moreover, we have established embedding agents, They are the colleagues who champion and lead DEI initiatives, so that as a team, we achieve DSI.
One of the pillars of our DSI target for 2022 is Increase the number of females in the company. As a technology company, we face the same challenge as many: finding and hiring talented female engineers and developers.
according to Women in the 2021 digital scoreboardThere has been little progress in bringing women into ICT (Information and Communication Technology) in recent years. In 2021 only 19% are information and communication technology professionals and about One-third of STEM graduates were female within limits European Union.
Researchers from Microsoft and KRC Research were interviewed 6,000 girls and women between the ages of 10 and 30 in the United States and found that We need to work harder to increase female interest and employment in STEM fields and computer science, especially in the field of technology and engineering. They also highlight possible reasons for girls losing interest in STEM: peer pressure, lack of role models, and misunderstanding of STEM careers. The results also indicate that Girls’ confidence in coding and programming decreases as they get older.
On the bright side, there are a few ways we can improve the situation right now. according to The latest Microsoft researchThese are the most effective interventions for closing the gender gap in STEM:
- Provide role models: Girls and young women need more exposure to STEM careers, female role models, and career planning.
- Excitement generation: Girls’ awareness of the creativity and positive impact of STEM careers can double after learning about real-world STEM careers.
- Provide practical experience: Girls who participate in STEM activities are 42% more likely to say they understand a career they could pursue in STEM fields.
- Offer encouragement: Encouragement from parents and teachers greatly influences whether or not girls choose and stay in STEM.
- Encourage a growth mindsetHard work and exploration, such as asking questions, should be valued in schools for always knowing the correct answers.
Set an example with mentorship
Girls who know a woman who works in STEM fields are significantly more likely to feel empowered to do STEM activities than those who don’t. Microsoft researchers Describe this as a The Snowball Effect: The more women are interested in and working in STEM fields, the more they can serve as role models for the younger generation.
We at Runtastic want to contribute to closing the gender gap. That’s why we joined Upper Austrian HTL Mentorship Program, which aims to encourage girls to pursue a career in STEM by providing perspective and support. Interns receive training to build a good resumeEarn how to prepare for the interview What it’s like to work in STEM.
HTL router software Connects girls studying STEM in their senior year of high school with working professionals on real-life challenges in the field. During the three semesters of the program, the mentors and trainees meet at least five times, and the trainee has the opportunity to conduct summer training In the mentor company.
The program is designed to help motivated girls achieve their career aspirations and encourage them to choose a STEM career path.
What do the mentoring program participants say?
we asked Lilly Olsinger (Intern, Technical Student of Electronics and IT at HTL Leonding) w Julia Hermann (mentor, machine learning engineer at Runtastic) about their experience with student mentoring software.
Q: Why did you decide to join the Mentoring Program?
Lily (educated): My drive was my aspirational public dream to work in a high position one day. Thus, I wanted to learn about more aspects of a career in a technology company.
Julia (teacher): When I heard about the opportunity, I immediately knew I wanted to participate as a mentor. I realized what a huge difference it could make for me to have a mentor at that age. In middle school and high school I was really good at math but I wasn’t at all interested in computers or science. No one told me I could be an engineer and work for a tech company one day, which is why I ended up studying finance and economics first and then switched to computer science and engineering later. I also have a younger sister who I have supported and encouraged to pursue a career in STEM, so I thought it would be great to do that again in a different environment.
Q: What was your experience with the summer internship at Runtastic like?
Lily (educated): It was definitely different from the training I had before Runtastic. Everyone I worked or spoke with was very friendly and welcoming, always trying to help me as much as I could whenever I needed to. Besides, I got a lot of new impressions of the world of application designers, developers, product owners, and so on. One of the things I enjoyed the most was communicating with the team: having lunch with my co-workers was the right time to talk about hobbies and learn a lot of new things too. I don’t know what to say other than “it was great”.
“Lots of new impressions of the world of application designers, developers, product owners, etc.”
Julia (teacher): I felt proud of what I had learned in just one month: I had mastered a new programming language and contributed an API to a map library that could be used in both our operational and training applications. The internship project was led by Paul Wechart within the Community Interaction team, so our big thanks go to him for his technical direction, support and Lilli’s warm welcome.
Q: In what ways do you think you have benefited from the mentoring?
Lily (learned): In general, I’ve actually noticed an improvement in my attitude while talking to people, which makes me no longer seem closed off, impatient, or annoyed.
Julia (teacher): I was inspired by the ambitions and curiosity of the apprentice. I learned to be a better listener and convey my knowledge in simple, understandable terms. I also felt so purposeful and grateful to be able to contribute to closing the gender gap in technology, even if it was just a small step in the right direction.
“I felt so purposeful and grateful to be able to contribute to closing the gender gap in technology.”
Q: What are your future plans?
Lily (learned): I’m planning to get my bachelor’s and master’s degree in game development. Moreover, I would like to start my own company with a team of good developer friends.
Julia (teacher): I would definitely like to work more towards a future where technology is truly female. In October, I will participate as a mentor in Women and Girls in STEM Forumwhich focuses on and organizes the empowerment of girls in science and technology Girls go round.
Q: Why do you think the next generation of girls should join the mentorship programme?
Lily (learned): From my point of view, every girl will probably benefit from such a program, learn a lot of new things and find out where to improve or what to avoid.
Julia (teacher)I think this program would be most beneficial to girls who are interested in pursuing a career in technology but are at risk of changing majors. In my opinion, it could provide them with work experience, a network of peers, and some incentive to choose to stay in STEM for their higher-level education and, later, their careers.
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According to Lilly, the mentoring program gives many girls her age the opportunity to improve their professional skills.