Empowering women in quantum computing: an inside look at Girls in Quantum

Author:Jukka Knuutinen
QUANTUM COMPUTING -️ January 18, 2023

Quantum computing is an emerging technology that has the potential to revolutionize the way we perform physics simulations, such as finite element analysis in engineering and materials science.

However, the field is still relatively new, and there is a lack of resources and education available for those who want to learn more about it. That's where Girls in Quantum comes in.

Founded by Elisa Torres in 2022, the organization aims to provide educational resources about quantum computing for free, with a focus on closing the gender gap in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields.

In this interview, we sat down with Elisa to learn more about the story behind Girls in Quantum, the organization's mission and vision, some real-life stories, and the challenges girls and women are facing in the field of quantum computing.

Elisa shares her journey, and the inspiration for starting the organization and explains why promoting gender diversity in the tech industry is so important.

The story behind Girls in Quantum

Elisa Torres founded Girls in Quantum in 2022. She became interested in quantum computing during the pandemic and soon received an IBM scholarship for an online course.

Not long after, she fell in love with the field to the extent of wanting to make access to studying quantum computing easier for everyone, especially for the underrepresented groups. Thus, Girls in Quantum was born.

The mission of Girls in Quantum is to provide educational resources about quantum computing for free and help close the gender gap in STEM fields by focusing on providing resources to girls.

The organization has a diverse team of ambassadors from around the world who collaborate to provide these resources. They also translate the content into other languages to make it accessible to more people.

One of the key goals of Girls in Quantum is to get more younger generations involved and make it more accessible to people of all ages. Elisa and her team believe everyone should have the opportunity to learn about quantum computing, and they are working to make that a reality.

A real impact

One of Elisa's most inspiring stories during the interview was that of a 17-year-old girl. She was unsure about what to study in the future but was passionate about science. She discovered Girls in Quantum, where Elisa introduced her to the field of quantum computing and convinced her to apply for a scholarship to join a short program to learn quantum computing.

As a result of this opportunity and through the program, the girl was able to pursue her passion for the field and is now studying physics in university, intending to pursue a career in quantum computing.

Other remarkable stories that Elisa shared were those from girls from Latin America and other regions of the world who face daily challenges due to their countries' political and cultural constraints, as well as other educational issues. Despite these obstacles, these girls are determined to learn about quantum computing and reached out to Girls in Quantum for collaboration.

The organization is now collaborating with these girls to encourage them with their studies and perhaps pursue a career in STEM or quantum computing in the future.

These stories highlight the impact that Girls in Quantum is having on young girls and women worldwide who are facing barriers to accessing education and career opportunities in STEM fields.

The organization is dedicated to empowering these young girls and women to overcome these obstacles and pursue their interests.

The importance of promoting gender diversity in the tech industry

Elisa believes that there are many benefits for companies that actively promote gender diversity in the workplace.

First, having more women in the workplace leads to better collaboration and diverse perspectives. Additionally, promoting gender diversity can help to eliminate bias in the hiring process and provide more opportunities for women.

Conversely, companies that do not promote gender diversity are missing out on these benefits and may even contribute to the ongoing gender gap in STEM fields. Elisa also mentions that as an actionable improvement, companies should provide flexibility measures for new mothers and ensure they can continue their work through online meetings.

Promoting gender diversity is beneficial not only for individual companies but also for the industry as a whole. It can lead to more innovation, better products and services, and a more inclusive and equitable society. Girls in Quantum is an excellent example of how an organization can actively promote gender diversity and positively impact the tech industry.

Obstacles and challenges facing girls and women in quantum computing

Elisa also discussed the obstacles and challenges that girls and women face when entering the field of quantum computing. According to Elisa, one of the main obstacles is the stereotypes of industries that discourage girls from pursuing a career in quantum computing.

Another challenge is the lack of flexibility in the workplace for new mothers. Elisa mentions that some companies may see new mothers as a liability and not provide them with the same opportunities as other employees. This can make it difficult for women to continue working in the field after having a child.

These are some of the obstacles that can make it difficult for girls and women to enter and succeed in quantum computing. However, organizations like Elisa’s are working to break down these barriers further and provide more opportunities for girls and women in the tech industry.

It's important to acknowledge and understand these challenges to overcome them and create a more inclusive and equitable environment.

Key action points

  • Support organizations that promote gender diversity and education in quantum computing. You can do this by volunteering your time, donating money, or spreading awareness about the organization.
  • Promote gender diversity in your workplace by encouraging and supporting women in the tech industry. This can be done by providing mentorship, professional development opportunities, and promoting a culture of inclusivity.
  • Provide flexibility measures for new mothers in the workplace and ensure they can continue their work.
  • Work to break down misconceptions about the field of quantum computing and the role of women in STEM fields by educating yourself and others about the subject.
  • Encourage the companies to adopt a non-biased hiring process and to focus on skills and experience rather than demographic characteristics.
  • Support the efforts of organizations like Girls in Quantum to make quantum computing education accessible to everyone, regardless of their background.

Conclusion

In this interview, Elisa shared the story behind Girls in Quantum, an organization she founded to provide educational resources about quantum computing for free, focusing on closing the gender gap in STEM fields.

She also discussed the importance of promoting gender diversity in the tech industry, the benefits it brings, and the consequences of not promoting it. Additionally, she shared some of the obstacles and challenges that girls and women face when entering the field of quantum computing.

Girls in Quantum's mission is to provide educational resources for free, and its focus on girls and the young generation can significantly impact the diversity and inclusivity in the field of quantum computing.

With their efforts, more people can be introduced to the field, particularly underrepresented groups, and thus, it can lead to a more diverse and innovative workforce in the future.

As we announced on our LinkedIn page at the end of 2022, we have started a collaboration with Girls in Quantum.

This means that we are fully committed to the values of inclusiveness and diversity, and take proactive steps to ensure a company culture that reflects those values. Furthermore, we will continue to support Girls in Quantum in their efforts by providing a training course for their platform and actively looking for recruitment opportunities from the Girls in Quantum network.