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Liberty Foundation promotes digital literacy for girls on Int’l Women’s Day

As part of its activity roster to observe International Women’s Day 2022, the Liberty Foundation, announced its NextGen Tech Scholar Program for Puerto Rican public middle and high school female students.

The program will be implemented in partnership with the Society of Women Coders, a New York City based nonprofit organization that conducts free coding, digital literacy, and leadership training for young girls around the world.

The Liberty Foundation NextGen Tech Scholar Program is a 20-week online afterschool technical training residency that focuses on coding and programming for local public middle and high school female students between the ages of 13 and 17.  

About 125 students will participate in the workshops, which will teach them skills such as task automation, data analysis, data visualization, digital literacy, website creation and Python programming, which is commonly used for software development.

The Eco Exploratorio: Science Museum of Puerto Rico, an education center for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in Puerto Rico, recruited the students.

Students will also participate in mentoring sessions and have access to an online community of coders that they can contact to answer questions and forge new friendships. Classes take place every Wednesday, starting March 9, with mentoring sessions on Fridays starting March 11.

“This program is part of our ongoing commitment to empower the next generation of women in Puerto Rico and continue breaking gender bias and inequality. By encouraging young women to opt for further education and careers in STEM, they can rise to become professionals and leaders in these fields,” said Giovanna Ramírez de Arellano, senior director of communications and corporate responsibility at Liberty Puerto Rico and vice president of Liberty Foundation.

“We thank the Society of Women Coders and EcoExploratorio, our partners in this venture, for helping us launch this initiative, which will help to unlock so much potential talent on our island,” she said.

Citing statistics from the Society of Women Coders, the nonprofit stated that just 20% of high school girls across Latin American countries choose careers in STEM disciplines.

The organization added that about 59% of Latin American young women that make it to college point to a lack of access as the main reason they would not choose to study a  STEM career.

“Initiatives aiming to bridge the digital literacy divide for girls are the need of the hour, setting the stage for them to be successful in the job market and giving them a path to financial independence,” said Kavya Krishna, CEO of Society of Women Coders.

“Targeting the girls also has cultural significance, as digitally literate girls will lead more wholesome lives and raise digitally literate families, thus creating a domino effect in the entire community,” she said

As an internal initiative, Liberty Puerto Rico’s parent company, Liberty Latin America, also made the program available to daughters, granddaughters, and relatives of employees across all its companies, including Liberty Puerto Rico.

Breaking the bias, fighting gender-based violence, and creating future tech stars
The Liberty Foundation NextGen Tech Scholar Program is just one of the activities that Liberty Puerto Rico and Liberty Latin America, have programmed in observance of today’s International Women’s Day celebration.

Liberty Latin America will host a virtual summit for all its employees across the company that will feature talks on various topics related to gender equality. This year’s theme is “Break the Bias,” which focuses on eliminating discrimination, stereotypes and biases against women.

“Break the Bias is one of the pillars of our efforts for International Women’s Day this year. The other two are gender-based violence awareness and encouraging young women to become Tech Stars by embracing STEM careers,” said Jazmín Castro, vice president of people at Liberty Puerto Rico.

Castro added that part of the effort to break the bias consists in using language that promoted inclusion in all forms of communication. That effort won Liberty the 2022 Textio Equity Award for a second year in a row. The award recognizes companies with the greatest share of gender-neutral job posts written in 2021.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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