Free Android development training for women

In honor of International Women’s Day which was celebrated March 8, 2016, The Namibia Women in Computing Society (NWIC), the Namibia Business Innovation Institute(NBII)’s Developers’ Circle and the Google Developers Group (GDG) have the pleasure to present an Android Development training for beginners aimed at women in the Windhoek area.

It’s a free two-day workshop to learn how to design and build mobile applications using Android! We will have women trainers and we welcome professional women and students from all areas of Computing and Informatics.

What is Android?

Android is a mobile operating system (OS) developed by Google, based on the Linux kernel and designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. It is now used on upwards of 80% of all the worlds mobile devices.

Android Training Details:

Training is scheduled to take place on the 22 April 2016 from 17:30-21:30 and 23 April 2016 from 09:00-17:00 at the NBII Innovation Village, 1-3 Gluck Street, Windhoek West, located near the NUST Library.

Attendees will learn how to create mobile apps for Android. By the end of the training, we will have built a fully-functioning mobile app! We’ll also be taking a look at the various skills needed to develop apps, like Programming, User Interface Design, Workflow and Process flow design, Project Management, etc…

There are no prerequisites for applicants other than that they must be female and available for the given dates and time.

Although bringing your own laptop is desired, we can provide the laptop/computer to work on. All other software & tools will be provided!

Free Android programming training for women

Share this with your network (group, peers, students,learners, colleagues, etc.) If you have any questions please feel free to email me at [email protected]

How to apply:

If you are interested to participate in this training please fill in your registration form here before or on the 18th of April, 2016.

We hope to see you there!

1st Women In Computing Conference held in Namibia

On the 27th February 2016, the faculty of Computing and Informatics at Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) in collaboration with Google, University of Namibia (UNAM) and Telecom Namibia hosted the first ever Namibian ‘Women in Computing’ conference which took place on NUST grounds. The event also commemorates Anita Borg’s birthday which is celebrated around the world. Anita Borg was a Computer Scientist and an advocate for women in computing who relentlessly fought to ensure that technology has a positive impact on people’s lives. She founded the Anita Borg Institute. Click here for more info on her.

The Event

Dr Anicia Peters, Dean of the faculty of Computing and Informatics at NUST, masterminded the event. She is a recipient of the Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship for Women in Computer Science  through which she has studied in the US. She has made a vow to encourage girls in Namibia to pursue studies in the Computing field and being a key organizer of this event, is already applying that very vision.

The event attracted some 200 women and girls interested in Computing and related fields ranging from high school learners to professional women and university students/staff from NUST, UNAM and IUM. The Vice-Chancellor of NUST, Prof. Tjama Tjivikua, welcomed the participants and gave his appreciation to the organizers and participants. Topics presented at the conference focused on providing a platform to introduce, attract and encourage women and girls to the Computing field and provide role models and mentors for them.

 “I think it’s very important to get more women into computing. My slogan is: Computing is too important to be left to men.”— By Karen Spärck Jones, Professor of Computers and Information at Cambridge Computer Laboratory.

Women in Computing Namibia Conference

Amongst the key speakers, was Ebru Celik, a Technical Programme Manager at Google. She connected via video conferencing for her talk and shared her successes as well as challenges she faced as a woman in computing. She stressed that a person’s gender should not have any bearing on their profession. In addition to the talks, panel discussions provided an opportunity for participants to ask questions to a group of six panelists who are professionally active in the technology field. A student panel also shared survival guidelines for women that find themselves in a “Male dominated world”.

The participants were served breakfast, a delicious lunch and what is a birthday celebration without cake? Three cakes were prepared for the celebration with some yummy ice-cream to cool-off the participants from the scorching weather outside.

Women in Computing conference Namibia
Dr. Peters cutting cake, YAAAASSSSS!!!!

Participants were also asked to sketch a design that they would like as the official logo for the ‘Women in Computing’ conference. In addition, there was a human bingo competition which encouraged the participants to meet new people and engage with each other. Across the hall from these engagements were exhibitors including a group of three 13 year old girls who demonstrated 3D programming and Tangeni Kamati, a 3rd year Computer Science  student, who showcased his great invention of a car robot. Participants each received Google goodie bags and had access to free and fast 4G LTE Wi-Fi thanks to Telecom Namibia.

Women in Computing Society

The event concluded with the formation of the Women in Computing (WIC) Society which is aimed at creating a platform where women can host get-together’s, plan activities and share ideas that will assist in the growth of the technological industry in Namibia and Africa at large. Talks are underway on hosting the event every year in February.

 

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Why STEM needs more women

 

Women in STEM, courtesy of cnn.com
Women in STEM, courtesy of cnn.com

Before 1993, most women that visited ER rooms in America were misdiagnosed with various illnesses, many of them would  later be revealed to have had heart disease . A harrowing number of these women were effectively sent to their deaths because of  scientific tests that were essentially devoid of any insights on the accuracy of the tests on women. Until 1993 the pervading belief was that women exhibited the same symptoms as men for cardiovascular disease, it was later found out that this was not necessarily true. This new revelation in science caused standard testing methods for cardiovascular disease to be discontinued, by then of course thousands of women had suffered adverse effects to misprescribed drugs that were created on clinical trials focused on the average sized man. This kind of oversight was motivated by the simplistic idea that women are “emotional” or in slightly more scientific terms, that they have physiological imbalances that make their test results unreliable. Surprisingly, this procedural bias continued in the US drug industry from 1850 to 1992 before health regulatory bodies mandated the inclusion of women in clinical trials. It is now known that women exhibit different symptoms to heart disease and perhaps consequently, that more women die of heart attacks than men. Although macabre, the story reveals a cross cutting homogeneity within the scientific enterprise that provokes us into wondering about what else we continue to miss daily because of gender specific valuations. We can only hope that our ignorance is not nearly as fatal as a heart attack.

So far, the story of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) has been one of inclusion, and one that is often overdressed in romanticized gender parity rhetoric. Statements such as “women are equal” and “women as just as capable as men” are often meant to imply that women are just like men, or I imagine that is what most men hear. This could be because men are unfortunately the status quo and sometimes when you are the status quo, it is hard to realize that there is another “quo”. The argument of equality for women in STEM in the formative years was poorly articulated and not well understood. This is true for equality for women in general, perhaps this is why, when faced with some ideas of feminism men are quick to retort that women should do their own heavy lifting or hold their own in a bare knuckle fist fight with a man. Of course the argument is more correctly framed today as an issue of equal rights for women. In the hope of building a more just and equitable society, most of us wish for the equal inclusion of women in both the knowledge and monetary economy because we believe that we have to be fair but I’m afraid this sentiment alone is not enough and in fact undermines the real contribution of women in any economy.

rosieforstory_0I am sure by now you have guessed that the author of this article is a man, one that until recently often saw it as a duty to the see the equal representation of women as a way to promote just order in the world. What I didn’t know about is the genius of decentralized design and comparative advantage. The truth is men and women are fundamentally different but most of us are guilt-tripped into ignoring why this is a good thing. There is a thing, a keen perspective, call it “gender innovation”- that only women can offer because they are women. This perspective is the billions of female minds thinking and dreaming up inventions to world problems, inventions we will never get to see because they are actively being repressed and downplayed by the dominant male bias. The male bias is an anachronistic bastion that maintains that only male ideas or ideas that solve men’s problems are worth pursuing because civilizations were built predominantly on the achievements of men, this idea is counter-productive to the say the least.

I often liken our predicament to the benefits brought about by extra-terrestrial inventions or technologies meant for space. Autonomous vehicles for instance where envisaged for space and deep-sea exploration because there is no place more foreign or hazardous to us. These technologies have found earthly/terrestrial applications. In order to solve a problem, woman centric or otherwise and because of the obvious motivation, a woman will invent something that can find far reaching applications, widening our inventory of inventions. This is the key to sustainable design and ostensibly the reason nature breeds diversity, because it makes the biosphere more adaptive to an ever changing environment. This is what we’re missing out on, a plethora of woman-built inventions that make us more adaptable to change in political, health, technological, economic and educational ecosystems. This is why the title of this article reads the why it does, “STEM needs more women”. Science and technology actually need the inventions of women, from a purely scientific, economical, functional and unadulterated point of view you cannot not have a sustainable and growing enterprise in science if you willfully crowd out the contributions of other scientist based on their nationality, ethnicity or gender. If you do this then science becomes esoteric and secretive like religious sects crippled by Aristotelian ideas of a universe with a “special” earth at its center. This should be the dominating argument, plain and bare, objectively presented with compelling numbers that show that less than half of a world’s population worth of intellectual raw material is being wasted. It is the thousands of jobs technology is projected to create with only half a work force to fill these jobs. Gender equality rhetoric in isolation is nothing but well-meant platitudes that mythologise the benefits of real equality.

In our experience teaching computer science thinking and programming to primary age girls, we found that the greatest challenge is convincing the girls that computer science is not a “boys thing”. There is a noticeable lack of a good interpretation of the STEM curriculum that makes it hard for girls to imagine themselves as thriving scientists and engineers. The curriculum is often presented in a skewed way, especially at primary ages it suggests that boys are more suitable for STEM jobs because they have an early experience playing games and toys related to STEM jobs. Scientific jobs are not easy but primary education should not scare girls from choosing STEM careers, same there should be no illusions about how much societal forces will try to discourage them, they should be made aware of the male bias. Women are early adopters of technology, to encourage our Computer Science girls class we often lead with explaining that the worlds first computer programmer was a woman, lady Ada Lovelace. To drive this point home we make references to the 1940s when most men worked hardware engineering jobs while women “manned” office desk jobs working with software and becoming the world’s first software engineering work force, in fact the term “software engineering” was coined by Margaret Hamilton, a woman. Obscure stories about women’s contributions to computer science are bountiful, read this report on the ENIAC six, or this one about the history of programming. . When teaching the girls, you have to situate them in a historical and present day reality all the while checking your own vantage point and bias.The best way to encourage participation of girls in STEM is to give them role models, increasing the prominence of women in STEM galvanises their enthusiasm to pursue STEM careers. Of course dispelling the myths of the male stereotype gets harder when there are daily reminders that there are those who think women have no place in computer science. The gamer gate controversy is an example of how misogynistic sentiment can sometimes scare women out of the tech industry.

Mae Jemison image, the first African-American woman in space has a background in engineering and medical research
Mae Jemison image, the first African-American woman in space has a background in engineering and medical
research

Debunking the male bias doesn’t happen without debunking cultural and racial constructs.It is undoubtably harder for black women to pursue careers in STEM, even with inclusion programs the overall number of black women in STEM fields has remained alarmingly low. Cultural generalisations that commit women to other professions are a greater challenge to black women. The admission of black women in academia is often just part of meeting a diversity quota, this makes for a good splash of color on the university personnel page. Academic brilliance of women from minority groups is even less acknowledged in academia, so much so that there is an invention of the word “Minority Academia Ghetto”, a place where the non-functional, non-essential minority staff of universities are relegated to. It is evident that minority groups have been kept out of post doctoral and higher management positions, this further marginalizes black women and causes them to suffer from depression and impostor syndrome. Clearly we have a long way to go before women feel completely welcome in STEM but good progress is being made all around, the world is slowly realizing that women will offer an incalculable contribution to science if they are allowed to participate on an even playing field. A more productive world of science would have us see a shift from an emphasis on the gender meritocracy that relies on ideas of victimhood and pity praise, to a realization that excluding women is slowing down innovation that would otherwise make us a more advanced society.

Check out the following resources if you want to get into STEM