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More Women in the Tech Sector! – Girls’ Day at the Ars Electronica Center
Ars Electronica enabled some young ladies to take a close-up look at occupational fields with great future promise. Three female students spent a day behind the scenes at the Museum of the Future.

When they’re confronted with the natural sciences or high-tech fields, most women still respond with a resounding “Not for me!” From among the 250 occupational offerings currently available, half of all female apprentices still opt for training as a hairdresser, office clerk or retail sales associate. Only 5% of all students in technical fields are female. At "Girls’ Day" held on April 28, 2005 at the Museum of the Future, three female students could take an up-close-and-personal look at emerging high-tech jobs. Christine Atzmüller from Linz, Julia Bachl from Altenberg and Melanie Raffezeder from Langenstein spent the day getting a behind-the-scenes look at the work of programmers, technicians, developers and media artists.

The three girls were quite impressed. “We really got to pitch in. We worked on interactive installations in the museum and helped do the rendering of computer animation sequences. I am definitely headed for a career in the programming field,” said Christine Atzmüller, 18. The local "Girls’ Day" initiative is sponsored by Dr. Silvia Stöger and the Bureau of Women’s Affairs of the Province of Upper Austria.

What’s more, a woman who has achieved remarkable success in a field strongly dominated by men paid a visit to the AEC on April 28: Barbara Prammer, vice-president of the Austrian National Assembly and chairperson of the Austrian Socialist Party’s women’s organization.

Linz is an outstanding example of an attractive, modern business location where girls and young women are being given the chance to obtain technical skills that will qualify them for better paying jobs. As a Linz native and a real hometown booster, I’m very pleased to see that a highly respected, world-class organization like the AEC isn’t just talking about this but is taking action too. Only in this way can we bring about real change,” Barbara Prammer said.

Nicoletta Blacher, director of the Ars Electronica Center’s Museum of the Future, pointed out how important it is mediate the encounter with technology, especially in the case of young women:

Engendering self-confidence in the way women deal with new technologies is one of the key tasks in paving the way for equal rights. The creative, hands-on approach to technology that the Museum of the Future takes is an important step is opening up new opportunities for women.”

This is the fifth year that the Province of Upper Austria is participating in the worldwide "Girls’ Day" initiative. The aim is to awaken interest among girls for high-tech careers with excellent prospects for the future, and thus to take a positive step towards changing girls’ rather one-sided career planning. The "Girls’ Day" initiative is also meant to make employers aware of the female potential available to them, as well as to sensitize parents and the general public to the growing demand for girls in what have been traditionally male professions.

More than 260 institutions and enterprises have made over 1,100 jobs available in order to enable girls attending intermediate schools, high schools and business schools to gain interesting and impressive insights into the work that goes on in laboratories, workshops, studios, editorial offices, etc. To attend, the three students got to skip school for the day – and thus swap their classroom desks for workbenches.

Project website: www.buerofuerfrauenfragen.at/girlsday

The local "Girls’ Day" initiative is sponsored by Dr. Silvia Stöger and the Bureau of Women’s Affairs of the Province of Upper Austria in cooperation with the following agencies in the province: the Labor Market Service, the Chamber of Labor, the Industrial Association, the Bureau of Youth Services, the Department of Education, the Chamber of Commerce and the local chapter of the Austrian Federation of Labor Unions.

For further inquiries, please contact:

Mag. Wolfgang Bednarzek
Press Officer Ars Electronica

AEC Ars Electronica Center Linz
Museumsgesellschaft mbH
Hauptstraße 2, A - 4040 Linz, Austria

Tel ++43.732.7272-38
Fax ++43.732.7272-638


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