Nearly 70 female secondary students across 26 schools in Singapore got the opportunity to develop technology solutions for real world problems in the country’s second annual edition of GenerationTech – J.P. Morgan’s flagship youth program that aims to close the gender gap in technology careers.
The program, which ended its three-week run, challenged young participants between the ages of 13 and 17 to build – under the mentorship of J.P. Morgan technologists – digital applications to tackle one of three UN Sustainable Goals, including Climate Action, Clean Water & Sanitation, and Sustainable Cities & Communities.
Launched in Singapore in 2021, GenerationTech is an initiative born out of J.P. Morgan’s goal to provide tech knowledge to young girls, with a focus on inspiring tomorrow’s women in technology from an early stage.
“At J.P. Morgan, we strongly believe that initiatives such as GenerationTech can instill a love for technology in girls from an early stage,” said Ed Bizaoui, APAC Chief Information Officer for J.P. Morgan. “We are introducing coding to these female students in fun and meaningful ways while helping them better understand the many applications of technology, particularly in tackling urgent issues such as climate action.”
According to a study by Boston Consulting Group, the proportion of women in tech careers in Singapore is around four in ten, which is above the global average. Yet, not many of them choose to major in technology in school. According to a STEM Gender Gap report by Nanyang Technological University published in March, only 21 percent and 29 percent of tertiary graduates in Singapore majoring in engineering and information technology, respectively, are women. Further, in 2021, only 58 percent of girls who graduated with STEM degrees go on to have related careers.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of GenerationTech at J.P. Morgan’s Singapore Corporate Center at One@Changi, Minister of State for Social and Family Development Sun Xueling said, “The range of jobs and entry points for women in tech is much wider than most think. Hence, an important part of the initiative to inspire girls to join tech is to share with them the many varied opportunities available and tackle stereotypes around gender and jobs. Many young girls are passionate about causes like climate action and applying technology solutions to uplift the vulnerable. We are all better off as a society when we can fully harness the potential of women in technology. Programs like GenerationTech are meaningful platforms for our young girls to gain exposure, and build confidence to pursue their interest in STEM areas.”
GenerationTech has garnered strong support from Singapore Women in Tech (SGWiT) – an initiative driven by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and supported by community and industry partners – which helped in the outreach to students for the program.
Dr Ong Chen Hui, Chairperson of SGWiT and Assistant Chief Executive of BizTech Group, IMDA said, “While the proportion of female tech professionals in Singapore is above the global average, we still have much to do to increase women representation in this high-demand sector. SGWiT will continue to explore opportunities similar to J.P. Morgan’s GenerationTech, to reach out to girls and women and show them the possibilities of an exciting tech career so as to ignite their passion and interest in our industry. We hope to attract and develop more girls and women in tech through these efforts.”
Three groups of girls ultimately emerged winners, determined by a judging panel that included representatives from J.P. Morgan, SGWiT, Inspiring Girls Singapore and Singapore Computer Society.
The winning solutions included a website to educate people on how they can achieve water sustainability, an app for job seekers to secure preferred jobs and seek career counselling, and an app that turns energy consumption into a game to motivate people to lower their electricity usage.
Source: J.P. Morgan