The biennial event aims to inspire female students to consider a career in IT, and this year more than 2000 school girls from 73 Victorian schools got hands on with the latest tech, learnt about exciting career opportunities, and heard from inspiring female role models.
Comprising of female students from Years 5 to 12, attendees were shown how to make a voice activated app with Alexa, learned about robots in banking with Robogals, 3D car design, digital aviation as well as ethical AI.
They also heard from leading women in the field, including female tech entrepreneur, Ally Watson, founder of Code Like a Girl, who believes that having visible role models in tech is as equally important as showing them the tech itself.
“When a girl closes her eyes and pictures a successful developer, they’re going to picture a Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs – always a man," Watson said.
"I often say ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’, so it’s really important for me to simply be visible to the girls attending; to share my story and insights into my career and study in computer science and show them that yes, girls can do this.
"That there’s such an exciting career for them in tech if they want it.”
Katie Brennan, Western Bulldogs' premiership winning AFLW captain, attended the event.
Brennan is well known for having emerged stronger from setbacks and challenges, and throughout a celebrated AFL career has been respected as much for her mental strength as her physical excellence.
“I believe the Go Girl Go for IT event is really important just to empower young women to go after their dreams and not to be scared of male dominated fields," she said.
"They can always pave their own way and that it’s really important to continue to dream big and to work past any barriers that they have in life. It’s always worth it."
Studies show that only 3 per cent of school girls are considering an IT career and only one in four Australian IT graduates are female.
And despite a 70 per cent growth of ICT jobs since 1996, women account for only 16 per cent of ICT roles in Australia.
With the demand for digital skills on the rise, it's more important than ever to encourage more females into STEM careers.
The Go Girls Go For IT event aims to close the gender gap by fostering an interest in tech at an early age.
Travis Cartwright, IT Leader at Echuca Primary School, was a first time attendee at the event and lamented the lack of opportunities for female students in coutnry regions to access similar events
"I thought this event offered girls who are interested in IT a platform to see that they will need IT skills in the future.
"Girls at our school are not exposed to ICT skills especially in realising where they need to use them and how most careers are impacted by ICT.
"This was emphasised by the speakers we had today, that anyone can do it and you are only limited by your ability to get there and give it a go.”
Go Girl, Go For IT program director Fi Slaven said this year’s event was the best turnout yet.
“Each year Go Girl, Go For IT gets bigger and better.
"The girls were very enthusiastic and particularly loved the hands on sessions where they could touch and feel and play with the latest gadgets.
"We’ve learned a lot from this year and are already thinking of ways we can make the 2020 event even bigger.”
Go Girl, Go for IT is a program run by the Victorian ICT for Women network, an industry-driven initiative that aims to support and enable entry, retention and progression for women working in ICT. Vic ICT for Women runs programs targeting women throughout their career lifetime. Go their website www.gogirl.org.au for more information.