?If she can do it, so can I!?: The importance of female representation in technology as inspiration for girls and women

For a long time, access to science and technology was denied to women and much of it was attributed to men. There is still a long way to go, but women are conquering their space in the technology market and fighting for equality in the area.

This struggle is experienced firsthand by teacher Ana Caroline Nunes, who teaches robotics, programming and electronics and coordinates the Manaós Tech robotics school in Manaus. In 2020, the business participated in the 3rd investment round of the Collective Lending Platform Sitawi, raising more than R$300 thousand to train more than 5 thousand students, including children and young people, with disorders such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Still during her education, Ana experienced one of the first challenges of the stereotype up close, when she graduated in Computing with two other women in a class of 40 people. 

Today, acting in coordination and as a teacher in courses at Manaós Tech and partner schools, she encourages children and young people, especially girls, to be interested in the technology area: ?What you say, what you do and how you act, is important for human formation. At the same time that we teach, we learn too!?, comments Ana.

According to the teacher, the children who participate in the Manaós Tech courses are very excited about the possibility of building their toy from the first piece. Many of the students even want to work with technology and follow in the footsteps of educators.

The teacher also recalls the low number of girls in the first classes of courses, when she started working at the robotics school, in 2019: ?A girl in a web development course was difficult. In the first course, there were 14 students and only one girl. Ana is moved when commenting that the number of girls in the robotics, games and electronics classes has increased and that the students are very engaged and look up to the teacher when choosing their future career: ?Some girls go on their own to enroll in the courses and do they give allowance money to participate?.

Difficulties and inspirations

The teacher also comments on the difficulty she faced in entering the job market: ?I arrived at the interview and there were many men. Sometimes I went for interviews with male colleagues from the same background and they were selected and I wasn't?.

Despite this, Ana did not give up and sought inspiration from great references in the area, such as scientists Ada Lovelace and Margaret Hamilton. The teacher was also inspired by the female strengths of her family, such as her mother, aunt and grandmother.

She leaves a message for girls and women who want to pursue a career in technology: ?Don't give up, look for inspiration in the various examples we have of great women. We're going to have a lot of difficulties, but seek encouragement and encourage, because we deserve to be in the place where we dream and where we want to be!?.

Manaos Tech

Currently, Manaós Tech partners with 4 of the largest private schools in Manaus, where licensed teachers work in regular education, combining technology content with mandatory curriculum content.

The headquarters has 7 courses, all lasting 1 year, aimed at children from pre-school age to young people aged 17 years. The school has more than 200 students and participates in several projects throughout the year, with the aim of promoting the institution and teaching of programming and robotics in the city. As an example, Ana highlights her active participation in robotics championships, such as the FLL (First Lego League) and OBR (Brazilian Robotics Olympics).

This incentive to the participation and development of students is essential, in the teacher's view. She comments that, in 2020, a student at the school created an app to help charities in Manaus. The app, created with the help of one of the professors at Manaós, facilitated the process of donations and requests for help for philanthropic entities affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

To learn more about Manaós Tech's activities, visit: https://www.manaostech.com/.

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