TECHchica Conference Introduces Girls to Careers
A group dedicated to empowering young Latinas will present the first TECHchica social technology conference Saturday in Austin.
The conference features a series of social media workshops for Latinas ages 9 to 18. The sponsoring organization, Latinitas, publishes a digital magazine and runs after-school programs, in addition to hosting the conference. Laura Gonzales of Latinitas wants to teach girls to replace media representations of Hispanic women — representations that may not be positive — with their own visions of success.
“You ask a 9-year-old Latina girl, she knows that she is not officially represented in media,” Gonzales said. “She does not see herself in cinema, she does not see herself in many television programs, and when she does, she often sees herself portrayed very negatively or overly sexualized. And so we are trying to instill in these girls the ability and the capacity to shift these images herself.”
Professional women who work in technology industries will host a lunchtime panel discussion. Gonzales hopes that by meeting and listening to these role models, like Evelyn Castillo, the editor of Austin’s Latinometro.com, girls will be inspired to reach for technology or professional careers.
“We’re going to be in a room with these girls and they’re going to be listening to this panel, a woman that looks just like them,” Gonzales said, “and were going to be telling them how they can be effective in their own way by talking about what we do and how that really has an impact.”
Gonzales says she wants girls to learn to express themselves through new media, and not just be passive consumers. The conference will be held Saturday at Austin Community College’s Eastview Campus.