How to raise a tech-loving girl

Give your daughter a head start by boosting her tech abilities ― we suggest ways to pique her interest…

Kids-How-to-raise-a-tech-loving-girl-1
Nadia Ng isn’t like most 12-year-old girls. At an age where many of her peers are interested in making charm bracelets or posing for the perfect selfie, Nadia is fascinated by wind turbines and solar panels.     

“Such technology provide humans with an alternative energy source instead of just using an exhaustible energy source like fossil fuels,” notes the Secondary 1 student at Nanyang Girls’ High School. “It also helps to save the environment and many countries are gradually starting to use it. It’s one example among many that demonstrates how technology helps to improve our lives and change it for the better.”

Big words for a small girl, but this tween sure does walk the talk. She fell in love with all things tech at age 9 after a robotics lesson at Nanyang Primary School, where she used to study.

As to why she’s so keen on tech topics, Nadia says, “I enjoy thinking creatively and find technology to be a very intriguing. I think it’s very important for the youth of today to be more tech-savvy as the world is advancing into the technological age and many jobs are gradually taken over by machinery or computers.” 

Now crazy about futuristic technology, she aspires to develop new apps or programs to better the lives of everyone as the world is “looking for people who can come up with interesting and innovative technology and applications”.

Girls who run the world

Although tech gurus like Mark Zuckerberg and the late Steve Jobs are household names, women today have made some major inroads in this arena as well. These include Yahoo! chief executive officer Marissa Mayer and Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg.

“In Singapore, Google’s director is Joanna Flint,"points out Dr Sharon Tan, an assistant professor at the Department of Information Systems at NUS School of Computing. “This signals that women play an important role in technology.” Jacqueline Poh is also the CEO of Government Technology Agency (GovTech) of Singapore, which is leading the government's drive to use technology to create citizen-centric solutions. 

“I think it’s very important for the youth of today to be more tech-savvy as the world is advancing into the technological age and many jobs are gradually taken over by machinery or computers.” 

But still, they are too few. At Computhink, a programming school for kids, where Nadia goes for classes, boys make up 60 to 70 per cent of her classmates. “I think this is due to the social perception that girls are not interested in technology, or that boys just love tech stuff better,” notes David Lee, Computhink’s founder and principal trainer. “Some girls may feel that it is un-girly to even want to show interest.”

“We all know that if we give a kid a phone they will know what buttons to press, how to move from application to application and know how to navigate somehow,” Dr Tan says. “They are born into this digital age and tech is all around them.”

Technology’s pervasiveness also spills into everyday life and career opportunities. Notes Yeo Shan Lyn, 13, a student at Singapore Chinese Girls’ School and a Computhink student, “Most people rely a lot on technology in their daily lives and work, so being technologically savvy is very important. If you at least know your way around a computer or how to fix things, it will also make your life a lot easier, and you will have a better chance of getting a job.”

So why isn’t your daughter interested in tech as much as your son? Read on to find out…