From Where I Stand: “I would like to see a better gender balance in technology and make it accessible to girls from underprivileged communities”
Date: Friday, March 1, 2019
34-year-old Müjde Esin founded the award-winning KizCode (GirlCode), a social enterprise harnessing technology to empower girls and young women from minority and disadvantaged communities in Turkey. Through partnerships with companies and government institutions, KizCode has reached 2,000 girls in the past three years, helping them gain emotional and financial independence.
My name is Mujde Esin. I grew up in a very traditional, patriarchal family in Eastern Turkey. As a child, I experienced the reality of girls being discouraged from learning and being creative. Only through sheer determination was I able to gain a Masters degree. I taught myself how to work with technology at university, and I realised that other girls and young women would benefit from learning these valuable skills.
In 2015, I set up my own social enterprise, KizCode, to help address the gender imbalance in the technology sector. I collaborate with companies to deliver computer-coding workshops for girls and young women from underprivileged communities in Turkey and Africa. These workshops aim to give them the skills to gain financial independence.
KizCode seeks to empower girls and young women from ethnic minorities and disadvantaged groups, using education techniques around making and playing. The project also aims to address their wellbeing and mental health, which are often overlooked.
I am very proud of our workshop participants. Two girls from an underprivileged community in Turkey, for example, won a prize after being inspired in our workshop. They are now pursuing careers in the tech industry.
Technology is at the heart of future development in society, the economy and international relations. And, the technology industry needs to make it easier for young women to get training in science, mathematics and information technology. This would empower them and make them more confident to use and create digital tools and apps.
I would like to see a better gender balance in the technology sector, and for girls from underprivileged societies to have easier access to education facilities and technologies.”
SDG 5), promoting decent work and productive employment for all (SDG 8), and on empowering and promoting the social, economic and political inclusion of all (SDG 10).