Tynker Celebrates- International Women and Girls in STEM Day

Last Updated: February 14, 2023 1:58 pm
Tynker Celebrates- International Women and Girls in STEM Day

Tynker has been committed to inspiring and empowering the next generation of young coders for over a decade. Tynker’s educational platform caters to children aged 5 to 18, providing them with engaging content and exciting coding projects. The company recognizes the importance of learning to code in today’s digital world and aims to equip kids with that valuable skill that will benefit them in the future. On this International Day of Women and Girls in STEM, Tynker joins the world in celebrating the achievements of women and girls in STEM.

It is crucial to raise awareness and celebrate women and girls in STEM. Even though more women have moved into STEM over the past decade (STAT), they are still underrepresented. Only 28% of those in STEM are women. Tynker aims to bridge this gap by introducing girls to coding at an early age and showcasing successful female role models in STEM-related careers. By doing so, Tynker hopes to positively impact the future of women in STEM and encourage more girls to pursue careers in these fields.

In recognition of the International Day of Women and Girls in STEM on February 11, 2023, Tynker is honoring contributions of women in STEM fields by featuring an interview with Vidya Mandyam, Tynker’s VP of Content and Curriculum. Vidya has been an integral part of the Tynker team since its inception in 2013. She joined Tynker, drawn by the company’s mission, leading her to stay with the company and become deeply dedicated to its success.

We wanted to hear about her journey into a STEM-related career and her thoughts on women and girls in STEM.

Made by one of our amazing female coders: By AmazingCoder

How did you enter into a STEM field?

When I was in high school, we had an introductory computer class that was held during summer break. Computer subjects were not regularly taught in schools at that time. We were introduced to the BASIC programming language on a PC running MS-DOS. By the end of this course, I was fascinated with how I could get a computer to do what I wanted by writing programs. Until then, I was interested in pursuing architecture. Instead, I chose computer science, and still code almost everyday! 

What were some of the difficulties you faced as a woman in STEM?

It is hard for a woman to have a career in this male-dominated field. At several companies during my career, I have been the only female software engineer. I do recall several meetings where I’ve had to be forceful to get my thoughts across and not be ignored in a room full of men. 

You have to believe in yourself, be firm, and stand by your decisions. I feel that women have to work harder, faster, and smarter to gain recognition. Things have changed, and we’ve come a long way. I love seeing women being recognized in STEM areas, paving the way for the next generation to choose these fields.

How and when did you get involved with Tynker?

I have been in Tynker for over 10 years now. Around the time when I was considering joining Tynker, I was planning  to take a break to spend more time with my kids. Tynker’s mission to empower kids with STEM skills excited me so much that I ended up joining them. Computer science has always been a passion of mine, and I wanted to inspire more girls to get into coding. I am still here because I love what I do.

Why do you feel that it is important to recognize international women in STEM day?

It is very important to recognize international women during STEM day so that the younger generation have great role models. I would say that all gender minorities need to be recognized because everyone needs heroes that they can look up to. I wish I had role models in computer science when I was growing up. And I think it’s really important to give them that.

Made by one of our amazing female coders: By AmsterdamKat

How do you think we can encourage women to enter STEM­-related fields?

We need to introduce girls to coding at a very young age. When kids discover early on that they can solve problems and get creative with code, they get more confident and will not be afraid of choosing a STEM career because “it’s too hard” or “it’s just for boys” or “only math nerds get into coding”. We need to break the cycle and get girls to see all the wonderful things they can do with STEM and coding. Showcasing good role models in the STEM fields is a step in the right direction.

 At Tynker, our courses and content themes are gender neutral and equally attract girls and boys to learn coding. We allow them to explore their interests such as art, storytelling, or Minecraft modding while learning to code. 

From your experience, are things equaling out between men and women in STEM?

It’s getting there, but not fast enough. In recent years, for sure, the trend has been to include more women in STEM. As parents and educators, we should do our part in encouraging girls to get into STEM earlier in elementary school. By the time they get to high school or college, they are going to have an easier time deciding to take the STEM route. I believe that the earlier we get them involved, the more women we’ll see in STEM.

What are some of the challenges that you feel women are facing entering STEM-­related fields?

I believe some of the barriers to entry are misnomers such as the fear of the unknown, peer pressure, and the perception that STEM fields are super hard. With a platform like Tynker, where they’re coding simple apps, solving problems, and acquiring skills, they start to  experience success early on, and believe that they can do it. 

Why would you say it’s important for women to consider STEM fields?

These fields are a great career choice, and if a young girl is passionate about science, engineering, medicine, math, physics or technology, gender should not prevent them from pursuing their interests. 

What advice would you give to young girls interested in STEM?

Don’t give up! Even if it’s hard, don’t give up. It’s okay to fail. Keep working hard, and you will succeed.

Final words from Vidya

Women will have different inputs, perceptions, and organization skills compared to men. At Tynker, we have a number of women employees and value diverse viewpoints at design and product-level discussions, and the end result is a well-balanced product. I truly believe that gender diversity leads to greater and better innovations. 

Thank you, Vidya, for sharing your thoughts on International Women and Girls in STEM day. 

Congratulations to our amazing Featured Makers. We celebrate you all on International Women and Girls in STEM day.

About Teri Llach

Teri Llach is Head of Marketing for Tynker. Teri is an experienced growth marketer with a highly successful track record in B2B and B2C, deep experience with start-ups, brands, and all functional areas of marketing. Teri lives in Palo Alto, CA.