DigiGirlz, the programme to bring technology to young Moroccan girls

450 young women have benefited from this project during the 2021 edition

PHOTO/AFP  -   A student accessing e-learning content

DigiGirlz is a programme launched by the technology company Microsoft more than 20 years ago with the aim of promoting science education among girls. In Morocco, the project arrived in 2017 and has been held in the Alawi country for several years now. This year, some 450 Moroccan girls from different cities in the Kingdom have benefited from the project. 250 of them are in secondary education and 200 are already in university. They come from cities across the nation such as Oudja, Taza, El Hoceima, Tangier, Kenitra, Rabat, Mohammedia, Casablanca,Khouribga, Marrakech, Benguerir, Tiznit, Guelmim, Tafraout, Beni Mellal, Settat, Fez, Essaouira, Ourzazate, Ifrane and Berrechid.

This year's edition will be held in Casablanca from 19 to 21 November. There, the women who have participated will be able to enjoy theoretical training and practical workshops on topics such as the technological start-up of a start-up, career planning, meetings with experts who will guide them in their studies and the field of networking. In addition, this weekend six projects will be presented in which several students of the course have worked and a competition with a jury will be organised to find out who is the winner or winners of this edition.

AFP/JOHN THYS - Distance learning

Since DigiGirlz has been present in the Kingdom, more than 1,000 girls have been able to enjoy the advantages of the programme and have been able to make a place for themselves in a world that was not previously considered for the female gender.

The programme in Morocco is carried out and financed by the Anoual Association, the US Embassy in the African country and Microsoft Morocco. This plan is also being implemented in other countries, especially in those where women cannot access these fields due to gender ideology.

PHOTO/REUTERS - A student wearing a protective mask writes notes from an online lecture on a mobile phone.

DigiGirlz is a programme created by Microsoft that has been installed in most countries. Its main function is to bring young girls into the field of technology and science, which is one of the most male-dominated sectors in which women suffer the most discrimination. The project initiative usually involves hands-on technology workshops and activities where girls everywhere can develop the skills they need to get started in this world. At the same time, there are also talks and conferences in which those chosen to take part in the programme can enjoy motivational and inspirational sessions from leading figures in the sector. They are also given the possibility to experiment in workshops dedicated to robotics, gaming, coding, etc.

Ineke Geesink, Microsoft's project manager in Costa Rica and leader of the brand itself there, stated in this year's edition in the Caribbean country that "it has been proven that part of the deficit of women in these industries and careers has to do with the lack of role models. For this reason, in addition to the activities of interaction with technology, DigiGirlz creates a space for young women to develop skills and also interact with women leaders in the sector and female references in these industries, so that they can be inspired and plan their professional future with the scientific and technological horizon more present".

AFP/YASSER AL-ZAYYAT - Image of an Arabic teacher

According to a UNESCO report, the shortage of women in these jobs is a global problem and only 35% of students in these technological fields are women and it is worth noting that only 3% go on to further education in the field. When it comes to work, it is estimated that there are only 10% of women working in the technology and software sector. Microsoft's general manager in Central America, Daniel Verwyvel, said that "technology needs diversity and inclusion". "Only if we are able to reflect all the richness and variety of the world, we will be able to detonate the innovation and creativity that is required to solve society's problems. That is why we aim to bring young women ever closer together so that we can overcome the gender gap that deprives them of science and technology. Now more than ever, it is our duty to advocate for attracting more women to the industry and motivate them to study technology careers".