A new Status of Women grant is supporting the non-profit group Chic Geek to help reverse the trend of women leaving careers in technology.
Women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers often experience intimidation and isolation and leave their careers within a few years, despite having the education and credentials for the job. When they do stay in the field, research shows they are more likely to have their commitment to work questioned and their opportunities diminished after having a baby.
Geeky Summit, a Nov. 8 conference in Calgary hosted by Chic Geek, hopes to change this trend by bringing together women from across Alberta for inspiring talks, hands-on workshops and networking opportunities to upgrade their technical skills. It will also foster conversations about women’s leadership and fairness for women in the workplace, especially in STEM fields dominated by men.
The $47,000 Status of Women grant also marks this week’s celebration of Ada Lovelace Day, observed yearly on the second Tuesday of October. Lovelace is recognized as the first computer programmer. An international day is named in her honour to celebrate the achievements of women in STEM careers and inspire the next generation.
“Women enter promising STEM careers, only to leave because they are made to feel unwelcome and unworthy. Chic Geek is reversing this trend by building a supportive network of women to end the systemic bias that hold women back from good-paying jobs that grow our economy.”
~Stephanie McLean, Minister of Status of Women
“This grant opportunity enables Chic Geek to run the only conference in Alberta that celebrates women advancing technology and entrepreneurship. Because of the Status of Women grant, we’ve been able to increase awareness about career opportunities for women in technology, which supports diversity and their economic prosperity.”
~Kylie Woods, founder and executive director of Chic Geek
Registration for Geeky Summit is now open. It will feature internationally renowned and local speakers and sessions about design thinking, programming, quality assurance and leadership.
- In 2011, 39 per cent of STEM graduates aged 25 to 34 were women.
- The top 10 Canadian information and communications technology companies have an average of 16.5 per cent female representation.
About Chic Geek
Chic Geek is a Calgary-based not-for-profit organization that offers a welcoming, supportive community for women at the intersection of technology and entrepreneurship. Year-round programming, like MEETnTECH events, helps women build a larger professional network with each other and within the Chic Geek community, as well as addressing some of the unique issues that women face in the tech sector. The first Geeky Summit in 2016 sold out, connecting the 180 participants through networking, socials and workshops.
About Status of Women grants
Status of Women’s first-ever grant program funds 34 innovative projects by not-for-profit and charitable organizations for a total of $1.5 million in the 2016-17 fiscal year.
Successful projects, such as Geeky Summit 2017, help women get good jobs and training and increase the number of women in leadership roles. Other grants have funded training to prepare immigrant and Indigenous women for careers in technology and a leadership conference in Bonnyville for women, by women.