Wednesday Woman: Eva Fog
Name: Eva Fog
Occupation: Founder of DigiPippi.dk
Can you tell us a little bit about your background?
Some 26 years ago I sat in front of a computer and I never left it again. That was the starting point of my life as I have come to know and love it. During my life I have added to this by pursuing every and any digital or technical platform I could get my hands on. Driven by a need to know and understand, as well as a need to convey this to others. I was almost always the only girl and that was both hard and easy at the same time. It was how things were.
Eventually, I found a profession some might think lies very far from the technical world: Waldorf pedagogue – better known as Rudolf Steiner in Denmark. To me it’s just a part of an eclectic approach to the world. Another addition to what I know and went to learn others. So I went out into the world of public schooling and taught the kids and adults all things tech and digital with a focus on creative and aesthetics.
That’s how I ended up where I am today.
Can you tell us a little bit more about DigiPippi.dk?
DigiPippi is a social education platform for girls aged 7-13 that teaches them tech and digital platforms in their terms.
With both digitally and physically based activities, DigiPippi strives to meet the girls where they are and as they are. We embrace a unique way of learning and give the girls a safe and encouraging environment to thrive in.
By we, I mean myself and the 35 women from all kinds jobs and interests in IT and digital platforms. All volunteers who wish to give girls the best chance to succeed in the tech world of today as well as tomorrow. I call them role models because that is what they are.
What was the inspiration behind starting Digipippi.dk?
Having been the only girl – and later woman – working with tech I have felt the loneliness, the pressure and the discrimination you get.
All things tech is pushed to boys and men even though the girls really want to join in. Almost all role models in their lives are male, and very few know women they can look up to and see themselves as in their future. So the girls try to adapt instead of being embraced. Usually with little success.
Girls need to be able to fail or succeed in a safe environment that enables them to use their skills: planning, collaborating and socializing their way to solutions. They simply can’t be bothered with the boys’ wild – and often very unplanned – approach. After a few tries they give up and go do other stuff, often not returning to tech at all or waiting until their late teens. That is too late and a waste of potential! That’s why DigiPippi sets in before hormones, romance and all the other important stuff in adolescence.
And that’s why DigiPippi uses real life role models.
Do you think there is a global need for more girls to be interested in IT and coding?
At the moment there is a very wonky distribution of male and female workers in tech. Though the numbers are slowly rising it is very hard to get enough women workers.
That means that 50 % of the population is very sorely represented in an area that seeps through every part of our lives. Girls need to become educated women who can make the decision to join the tech crews, thus making the female approach gain more momentum in a very male dominated world.
That issue is global. Everybody is talking about it and few know how to solve it.
DigiPippi gives it a new approach and hope to make today’s regular girl tomorrows tech savvy women.
You launched on the 1st of September, did you have any special events planned for this?
The launch was marked by a few cool things.
First, I had a video chat with two of the kids working as reporters for DigiPippi TV. They showed me how their class works with tech like Sphero, iPads, LEGo Education and Wizboards. We filmed it, and I hope to release the video next week.
Secondly, the site opened to reveal the articles and tutorials made for the girls.
And lastly, DigiPippi TV launched at 6 PM, containing 8 videos from the reporters aged 9-14 showing cool apps and how-to’s. Presented by myself with focus on what the girls would like. I’m very proud of the reporting girls as they have really done a great job with very little or no interference from adults.
I can’t wait until we launch the next episode on Sep 14th!
What are the short and long term goals for Digipippi.dk?
The main goal is to make girls educated and aware. Girls, who know about tech from a basic stand point – like how to use a mobile or PC, to getting girls interested in all the cool stuff out there! They don’t know what’s possible and DigiPippi will show them.
In the long run, we will contribute to the education of girls with specially made material for their teachers and by sharing the knowledge of how to get the girls interested. And how to keep them interested!
One of the most important goals is to get the girls from underprivileged or racial diverse background into the same league as the other girls.
That is why the DigiPippi organization earmarks 15 % of all revenue to help these girls financially. With the ‘bring your own device’ policies spreading throughout the world a lot of girls get left behind.
DigiPippi will help these girls the best we can.
What, do you believe, will be the most rewarding aspect of running Digipippi.dk?
The most rewarding thing, without question, is helping girls understand and develop their own potential.
No matter if it’s small things, such as using all of a printer’s possibilities, or being the future female Bill Gates or Steve Jobs.
Just helping girls understand themselves and their potential. That is what it’s all about.
What have been the most enjoyable and most challenging factors of setting up Digipipi.dk?
The most enjoyable thing must be the enormous support I’ve received from day 1. I have used the metaphor that I thought I was sailing a canoe down a stream, but in reality I was sitting in a speed boat crossing an ocean.
I sort of expected people to like what I wanted to do but I never expected that people would rally up like they have. It’s humbling and I am so grateful.
The most challenging part has been twofold. First of all, there’s the repercussions of so many people wanting to help, know more and participate even before I launched. It takes a lot of time and effort to organize a surge like that, being just me. But over the last two months I have been able to slowly delegate to the role models and others, so they could start helping. I’m still far from a place where I can dedicate myself to promotion, developing and teaching within DigiPippi but its’ getting a little closer every day.
Secondly there’s the financial aspect. Setting up an organization like this takes money and the facts of life are, that you need to show a product for people to want to fund you. That’s what I’ve been producing the last few months almost 24/7. Right now a lot of ideas needs funding, and finding and securing it takes time. You have to keep at it even though you might lose sleep.
In the end the passion and the drive takes me through the rough patches because it’s all worth it!