Mariana Anaya | Mexico City, Mexico
This post is about Girl Up's STEM for Social Good Event in Mexico City on November 3rd.
When I heard Girl Up’s was planning its first event in Mexico, I immediately knew I had to be part of it. Mexico City is just an hour and a half flight away from Monterrey, after months of waiting, on the morning of November 3rd I jumped out of bed, into a plane that would take me to meet amazing STEM enthusiasts from around my country, as well as some familiar faces from Girl Up staff members.
When I arrived to The Room, the place where the event was held, Rocío (a Girl Up Associate) gave me the warmest of hugs. As the room filled with girls of all ages (the youngest one being around 10), I couldn’t help but beam with joy. How I’d wish I’d attended an event like this when I was younger! Across the room you could feel an atmosphere of enthusiasm and encouragement. Everyone was invited to participate, and I could tell everyone felt at ease.
We weren’t there to criticize each other, after all, but to provide a safe environment for girls to learn and not be afraid to make mistakes.
The event started off with a brief summary by Bita Aranda, Girl Up’s Consultant for Latin America and the Caribbean about Girl Up’s Mission. Her inspiring words set the tone for what would be a lovely evening. Throughout the day there were special guests like Ana Karen Ramírez, CEO of Epic Queen, who talked about how essential it it to have women in tech.
Some of the activities included lighting up a map to visually represent gender inequality around the globe, brainstorming about board games that tackled issues such as bullying and stereotypes.
Hearing everyone’s ideas was really fun.
My fellow Girl Up Monterrey member and Teen Advisor Valeria Colunga even acted out how the game “Simon Says” is applied in real life with the media being “Simon” as it instructs women to act and look a certain way, as an example of how we need to break walls in stereotypes.
At the end of the first session,Teen Advisor alumni Paola Alanis, Valeria and myself talked about what Girl Up meant to each of us, and how every girl present has the potential to make an impact and involve Girl Up in our everyday lives.
Part or the goal of this event was to prize the team that came up with the best tech-related solution to a problem they faced in the community with 2,500 USD to develop their idea.
The winning team, a group of girls from Tlaxcala, came up with an app design that helps prevent kidnapping, as it is a serious issue in their community. The app allows you to send you location to your loved ones, and, in case you feel unsafe, allows you to connect your earring via bluetooth to your phone so you can just touch them and press a button that will send an alert to your loved ones.
I can’t stress how important it was for me to witness the impact of a this event in Mexico, In just two days over 50 girls became empowered and inspired with ideas that will help women and girls be safer and happier in their communities, talk about girl power.
I can’t wait to see what Girl Up has in store next year!