By Yvette Scorse, Communications Manager
One thing we know at Byte Back is that it’s never too early or too late to learn about technology. It also doesn’t matter what race you are, where you’re from, or what gender you are – tech should be inclusive of all people.
This was reinforced as we spent the day with two intelligent and confident Egyptian TechGirls.
TechGirls is an international summer exchange program designed to empower and inspire young girls from the Middle East and North Africa to pursue careers in science and technology. I had the privilege of hosting Maysa, 16, and Natalie, 15, at Byte Back for a day.
Maysa is from Sohag, Egypt and Natalie is from Cairo, and for both of them this three-week visit with TechGirls was their first time outside of Egypt. They brought with them an impressive maturity, knowledge of the world, and desire to learn more.
When asked about what it’s like to be a girl interested in tech in their homeland, they shared that girls in Egypt are encouraged to care more about appearances than studying technology.
“Girls are raised to be pretty and not smart. That is the fault in our society,” Natalie said.
They don’t listen to people who tell them that tech is a “guy’s thing,” and they said people should accept girls and women in tech.
These two young women truly have the makings of tech trailblazers, and I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to welcome them to Byte Back, to share with them the importance of digital inclusion, and to be among young women who feel empowered to learn, explore, and be unapologetically smart.
Throughout the day, they learned that the definition of tech can go beyond computer engineering or coding, two things they have experience in. With me, they saw how technology combined with creativity is key to successful communications and marketing and how tech skills are vital to creating content and reaching audiences.
Their tour of Byte Back didn’t end there. Throughout the day, they met inspiring women leaders at Byte Back, including Elizabeth Lindsey, executive director, Nicole Green, chief operating officer, Marianne Alicona, director of development, and Iyana Turner, program associate. They also met two AmeriCorps instructors, Robin Moges-Haile and Alba Escobar, and certifications instructor Andrew Quilpa, along with some of our students.
Special thanks to TechGirls, which is a program of Legacy International and the U.S. Department of State.