Young girls are often discouraged from pursuing careers in STEM — but at Dreamforce, the world’s largest software conference, it was the exact opposite.
Inspiring women, and young girls in STEM, and building future female leaders, was one of the highlights of the four-day conference which wrapped up in San Francisco Thursday.
The Girl Scouts of America — which was recently in the news for slamming the Boy Scouts’ decision to accept girls — was a visible presence at Dreamforce this year, with its CEO, Sylvia Acevedo, delivering a keynote address.
The Girl Scouts launched an initiative at Dreamforce to raise $70 million to put 2.5 million girls through a STEM pipeline through 2025.
The goal as always, is to close the gender gap.
GSA volunteers, dressed in their signature green tunic, sash and vest, sold cookies to attendees at Moscone Center with the help of, yes, you guessed right, apps, tablets, and smart phones (Apple Pay!) to track inventory and learn about business and technology.
"We're raising the next generation of STEM leaders," said Marina Park, president of the Girl Scouts of Northern California. "We've a great leadership program and we put the girls through STEM opportunities starting in kindergarten to build their confidence, and understanding to do things that aren't perfect. We want them to try new things."
The organization is also teaching young women about entrepreneurship.
“As CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA — and as a proud Girl Scout since I was seven years old — I’m incredibly honored to represent an organization whose core mission is to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place,” Acevedo wrote in a blog titled: “Learn How Girl Scouts is Building the STEM Trailblazers of Tomorrow at Dreamforce.”
“As technological change races forward, demand for skills — some new and some old — has changed as well. Unfortunately, while access to technology has increased as the digital divide continues to shrink, and at a time when having a broader base of skills is increasingly consequential, many of our youth, especially girls, do not have the opportunities to build the skills necessary to succeed in this new world.”
Acevedo said the organization of doubling up on efforts to reach even more girls, “in every community and of every background, offering unparalleled opportunities to explore STEM, entrepreneurship, and the great outdoors, and to build essential life skills that will serve them throughout their lives.”
To donate to the STEM pledge, visit the donation page.