By Audrey Isabel Pe, 16
British School Manila
Growing up, I had wanted to be many things—an artist, a cook, and even a scientist. But throughout my childhood, I could never recall seeing or knowing a woman working in the field of science, making it even harder for myself to imagine being scientist. So for some time, that dream of working in a lab or experimenting with various chemicals took a backseat as I went through science classes that made me rethink why I ever wanted to pursue a career in the field of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). After all, the humanities were where my peers and teachers were encouraging me to go, so why not pursue that?
This all changed when I stumbled upon Codecademy, where I took my first of many online classes, and fell in love with coding. I was immersed in the creativity and potential of computer science, but was once again confronted with the gender gap in the field. Books such as Women Who Don’t Wait in Line by Reshma Saujani opened my eyes to the fact that there are many exceptional women in technology, but we simply are not giving them the amount of media and attention that the likes of Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are receiving. By digging through articles about women in technology and discovering organizations such as Girls Who Code and #BUILTBYGIRLS, I decided to launch my passion project, WiTech (Women in Tech), a blog that features and celebrates women working in various fields of technology.
For about a year, I held in-person meetings and email interviews with women from tech companies to freelance web developers. By hearing their stories and struggles as usually one of few women in their workplaces and the lack of computer science support from their elementary and high schools, I crafted articles about how each of the interviewees overcame obstacles to excel in the field of tech.
As WiTech’s network and reach grew, a group of passionate and driven girls from high schools and colleges around Metro Manila joined WiTech in the organization’s next big step, the women in tech conference.
The conference itself stemmed from the idea to inspire the next generation to close the gender gap in tech by exposing them to various women in fields of tech. Although we are currently in the planning stage of the conference slated for next year, WiTech aims to bring women in tech into the spotlight through talks and workshops for Filipino high school and college students.
Before WiTech, if you asked me “What do you want to do when you grow up?” I would probably have an array of answers. But if you ask me that question now, I would say, “I want to make a difference in the world.” And I hope that bit by bit, WiTech is helping girls around the world discover their potential in the field of tech, and prompting men and women to have an open mind in giving all genders equal opportunities to have bright futures in technology.
You can read more information about WiTech on wi-tech.org.