It is my dream for every Filipino youth to have the access and skills necessary to pursue a career in technology.
When I was 15, I founded WiTech (Women in Technology) in order to educate, inspire, and empower the youth to break gender barriers and use technology to make a difference in society. As an organization of 70 high school and college students, we’ve hosted the first women in tech conference (for students and by students in the Philippines), featured 20+ stories of women in tech from 5+ countries on our blog, hosted talks about how women are using technology to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals, and travelled to Marawi (an area in the Philippines that was bombed in 2017 due to suspected ISIS terrorists) in order to teach teens living in evacuation centers (many of whom had never heard of programming before) how to code.
In just three years, WiTech has impacted over 300 youth from around the Philippines through our events and 1000+ people from around the world through our blog viewership. Personally, I have travelled around the country to share my story and hopefully inspire other young people to make a change within their communities. Speaking engagements have brought me to places like ASEAN and the UN in Bangkok. Overall, I’ve reached over 5,000+ individuals via my talks that have ranged from audiences of UN diplomats to public high school students.
When I joined the Asia Pacific Youth Exchange - Philippines Program in 2016, I only had a vague idea that I wanted to create an impact in a field that I saw (and continue to see) so much potential in: technology. How was I going to do it? Was I capable of making such impact? These questions equally excited and intimidated me. But after APYExPHL, I felt capable. The speakers and workshops boosted my confidence and provided me with the skills in networking that I felt helped in my journey establishing WiTech. When speakers shared their stories on the APYExPHL stage, I took notes and learned how to better my presentation skills as well.
Fast forward to the tail end of 2019, and I am continuing to work every single day towards my goal of a more equal technology industry. My fellow youth are capable of using technology to do so much good to this world—if only they had the access to do so.
Follow my adventures as a youth leader (and teenager!) on Instagram and Twitter (@audreyisabelpe).