Tech Age Girls (TAG)
The Tech Age Girls (TAG) program encourages and develops skills of promising young female leaders by providing them with specialized information technology (IT) training and opportunities to engage in critical public discussion.
Broadly, TAG addresses the systemic underrepresentation of women in the IT field and promotes the online presence of girls’ voices in local languages.
TAG participants attend events that enable them to discover new abilities, develop professional skills, and gain the confidence and inspiration necessary to become leaders in their communities. The program is supported by the OCSE, Peace Corps, USAID, and US Department of State.
• Provide training, support, and encouragement to a competitively selected cadre of socially active young women, ultimately promoting an expanded role for women in their communities and in the IT field.
• Facilitate the contribution of young women’s voices to public discussion on critical issues and increase the level of online local language content from girls’ perspectives.
Economic development and women’s empowerment are closely related goals. Eurasian countries seeking to maximize their considerable economic potential have a distinct interest in making the most use of all their human capital, male and female. TAG equips young women with technical and professional skills, leadership training, and the confidence to become leaders in their communities. By promoting greater female representation in the professional field of IT and in the realm of public debate, TAG aims to support the economic and political development of Eurasia at the individual and community levels.
The Three Phases
The project lasts for one year in three distinct phases.
• Phase One lasts up to six months, during which participants are selected and strengthen their IT skills while forming an online community based on a series of online events.
• Phase Two brings the highest achievers to a one- to two-week in-person workshop in a major city, where girls participate in leadership training and meet influential, national-level women leaders.
• Phase Three begins when participants return to their communities, remaining linked in to a network of young women leaders who are implementing local projects and training their peers in key IT skills.
Upon completion of the first year, participants become mentors for successive groups of Tech Age Girls, enhancing project sustainability and spreading its benefits even wider.
Technology training: TAG quarterfinalists receive basic IT training from local technology specialists, often associated with other IREX programs, which they then use to conduct online research projects and organize community activities.
Community service projects: During the semi-finalist selection process, TAG participants design and conduct service projects in their communities as part of Global Youth Service Day (GYSD). The girls research pressing community needs and focus their projects accordingly.
TAG summer conference: TAG finalists spend one to two weeks at a conference held in their countries’ capitals, where girls take part in advanced technology and leadership training, perform short internships at domestic and international NGOs or government offices, and meet influential, national-level women leaders.
Final projects and mentoring: When TAG finalists return home, they design new projects to serve their communities. They also mentor girls hoping to join the next cycle of the TAG program, sharing their leadership and technology training, as well as their energy and enthusiasm.
TAG helped Turkmenistan girls implement 44 community service projects on Global Youth Service Day 2008. Just one year later, the number of TAG projects on GYSD jumped to 80.
In 2008, TAG semifinalists launched 44 websites dedicated to female leaders in Turkmenistan. In order to gather information for the websites, the TAG semifinalists interviewed prominent women in their country, conducted online research online, and visited local libraries.
In 2009, TAG placed its 15 semifinalists in mini-internships at distinguished organizations such as the OSCE, US Embassy Public Affairs Section, US Peace Corps, UNICEF, and USAID.
Over 100 young women in Moldova, and more than 80 in Uzbekistan, increased their professional skills, personal confidence, and community involvement through the TAG programs in their countries.
TAG has been implemented in eight countries across two continents, with its most recent stages taking place in the Philippines and Vietnam as part of the Global Connections & Exchange - Asia program.