4. Dr Jenine Beekhuyzen: founder Tech Girls Movement
When IT lecturer Dr Jenine Beekhuyzen looked out at a lecture hall filled with first-year students and saw just one female face, she immediately wished people were doing more to address the imbalance. Then she realised she could do something about it herself.
Beekhuyzen knew, from years of research, that girls are not attracted to STEM jobs because of a lack of female role models in the field and a lack of understanding of technology. So she designed, developed and launched the not-for-profit techgirlsmovement.org.
“It is about giving young girls an alternative role to the princess,” says Beekhuyzen.
“I am trying to empower them to think about how they can create their own future with technology.”
Visitors to the site can request a free book that tells stories of “superhero” female role models from the IT world. Girls can then go onto the site and meet the real-life versions of those women. Beekhuyzen does school visits and runs an app development competition for teams of girls.
See why accountants are modern-day superheroes.
“Over 18,000 books have been distributed since last March,” she says.
“Tech Girls Movement started out as a hobby, but has become much more than that. I am now looking at strategies to make it bigger, so I can eventually take over the world!”