Girlguiding Scotland has launched the country’s first digital activity badge designed to encourage girls of all ages to develop the skills they need for their digital future.
The Digital Scotland Challenge Badge was created in partnership with Skills Development Scotland (SDS) and Education Scotland, and aims to empower every girl to make the most of the opportunities technology offers.
Research by Girlguiding has found that science and technology still continue to be perceived more as male subjects, with one in two girls saying science, technology, engineering and maths subjects were ‘more for boys’ while just 37% of girls said they would consider a job in tech.
The Digital Scotland Challenge badge aims to change those perceptions and will teach young girls about computers, algorithms, creativity, design, and computational thinking, as well as highlighting career options in the industry.
Fun activities and challenges have been created for Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and Rangers so girls of all ages can get to grips with technology – from mixing beats to animating adventures, and designing wearable tech to creating a robot maze.
Denise Spence, chief executive of Girlguiding Scotland, said: “Giving girls a space to take on new challenges and learn new skills is a big part of what Girlguiding Scotland is all about. We’re really excited to partner with Skills Development Scotland and Education Scotland on this new challenge badge.
“We know there is a world of opportunities for girls to discover in science and tech, but women continue to be under-represented in these fields.
“We hope initiatives like this will inspire and equip a whole generation of girls to make the most of their digital future. I’m looking forward to seeing girls across the country taking on the digital challenge badge and seeing everything they achieve.”
Claire Gillespie, sector manager for digital technologies at SDS, said: “This was such a great project to work on, and shows exactly what can be achieved when the third sector and the public sector work together for the common good. I have no doubt the badge holders will go on to great things in Scotland’s tech sector in the future.”
Alan Armstrong, strategic director with Education Scotland, said: “We are delighted to have been part of this exciting project to create the challenge badge along with Girlguiding Scotland and Skills Development Scotland. Working towards the badge will encourage girls to get more involved in developing their digital skills as an important aspect of their learning across STEM subjects.
“This digital badge opens up a wealth of engaging opportunities for girls to build their confidence and their skills for work from the earliest age in Rainbows at 5 right up to Rangers at 18.”
The tech theme of the new badge was reinforced at its recent launch with the help of robots from Heriot Watt University (HWU).
Professor David Lane, founding director of the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics at HWU, said: “We’re delighted to be helping the Girl Guides, Skills Development Scotland and Education Scotland launch this new digital badge. Here at Heriot-Watt University we have a long history of encouraging girls to get involved in Artificial Intelligence and STEM subjects which are all part of the digital skills revolution.”