The fact that the Philippines was ranked Asia’s top performer in closing gender disparity last year should serve as motivation for women in this country to continue striving for gender equality—rather than rest on our laurels.
At Microsoft, we have initiated several programmes to foster greater opportunities for women through computer science. To mark International Women’s Day, we collaborated with our partners A Better Chance Foundation (ABC Foundation), Payatas Orione Foundation (PAOFI) and Life Project 4 Youth (LP4Y) to organise a Coding Class for Girls and help young Filipinas take their first step in learning to code.
Our nonprofit partners have focused their efforts on youth empowerment and tackling poverty in the Philippines for many years, and we were honoured to host this workshop for them. This coding class emerged from a joint discussion, where it was agreed that having a female-targeted event could go a long way towards encouraging more young women to study computing.
Held at the Microsoft office in Makati City, Coding Class for Girls brought together 50 girls and young women for an eventful session of fun and learning
Held at our Makati office, the workshop was attended by 50 girls and young women aged between five and 28 years. Many of the participants are from underprivileged communities in Manila, and we saw this workshop as an ideal platform for them to discover the joys of coding.
Microsoft Philippines General Manager Karrie Ilagan opened the event by sharing her personal experience as a woman in tech. Realising that programming skills are critical in her field, Karrie said initiatives such as the WeSpeakCode campaign provide ample opportunities for professionals like herself to explore coding alongside youth.
"I'm glad to have achieved my dream of understanding the programming side of the industry! You can achieve so much because of technology, and being at the heart of it is very inspiring to me," she enthused.
Our Microsoft Student Partners (MSPs) got the participants started with an Angry Birds-themed coding puzzle and then moved on to learn to code with Anna and Elsa, the two beloved cartoon sisters from Frozen.
I was excited to meet Maribel, a participant at the workshop who is applying her computer expertise to run a livelihood project called Solar Service Station (3S) helmed by LP4Y. The 3S team rents solar panels to homes in urban slums, allowing families to enjoy considerable cost savings over using kerosene lamps. After attending the workshop, Maribel is eager to go one step further to learn coding and pursue a career in computer science. It is extremely gratifying to help inspire the next generation of female coders!
We are delighted to have delivered a fun and enriching coding session for young women, and plan to hold more workshops on core computing skills and courses offered by Microsoft Virtual Academy. Watch this space for more!