Interview with Artur Kurasiński, author of "Róża, a co chcesz wiedzieć?"
– What’s the story behind this book? Why did you decide to write it?
I created this comic book having been observing for many years how our current educational system has treated boys (“feel invited to enrol for a robot construction course”) and girls (“learn how to sew beautifully”). I think that such divisions are the reason for arising of a barrier which girls and women face in the world where knowledge and skills related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are increasingly needed.
– In our culture coding and computers are still seen as a hobby for boys
Yes, but fortunately this is changing, and it’s happening fast. In IT there are more and more women who not only code, but deal with UX, marketing and sales of IT solutions as well. Not so long ago coding was acknowledged a “nerdish” activity, let alone programmers, who were labelled as freaks and outcasts. Nowadays, mainly due to very attractive salaries they get, the programmer profession has gained a lot of respect and reputation.
– How can we change it to involve girls from the early age?
We should provide illustrative examples, educate, not force to do anything. We ought to support girls in the learning process and condemn the behaviours of their male peers, which are still very sexist (especially at primary schools). Last, but not least, we need to force teachers to change their approach to boys and girls in creating typically “male” and “female” roles.
– How can we engage children in learning to code?
From my own perspective as a parent of two girls I can say that it’s a difficult and demanding process, which requires that both parents are committed to it. You just can’t give your child a handbook and say “Here you are, go ahead and take interest.” One must work with a child, encourage them and know when to let go. And of course you have to pick the right topic to study—programming the movements of My Little Pony ponies is quite cool 😉
– What about the dark side of introducing computers into their lives
when they’re still too young to understand potential threats? How can we protect
We are not able to constantly protect our children and keep wrapping them in cotton wool. It’s not healthy nor reasonable. We must teach them about what they can expect, how they can prepare for crises and how they can respond to them. The earlier we explain to our children that they may encounter both very nice and very bad people, and show them how to recognize each, the better. Trivializing online pornography or “fads” like Momo won’t bring any good. These things will not just disappear and our children will anyway have access to the Internet through certain devices without our knowledge…
Get the book HERE