April 4th 2019, text by Marian van Sprakelaar, translation by Annemijn Smulders
Where does my garden end and where does my neighbour’s start? Who owns this piece of land and what can I build here? These are a few examples of topics that the IT department of Kadaster (i.e. Land Registry) has to deal with. But the department does much more and works with the latest technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence. Kadaster is a dynamic organization and therefore a very nice company for high school girls to visit on the Dutch national Girlsday.
What role does IT play at Kadaster?
Kadaster records data from homes, ships, aircraft, plots and roads, both in the Netherlands and abroad. They are also responsible for topography and coordinates in the Netherlands. As a result, the Kadaster IT department has filled a database with an enormous amount of geographical information. Zeynep Demir (Executive secretary IT) and Suzanne Franse (HR-advisor) notice that the organization is becoming more data-driven. “Kadaster gathers a lot of data and therefore we cannot lag behind in the field of IT. There is a great demand for young IT talent, from administrators to developers to testers, we need these people to continue to develop”, says Zeynep. Suzanne adds: “On Girlsday, we want to inspire young girls to choose a career in tech and IT. Diversity is an important topic for us. We see that teams consisting of men and women function better. That is one of the reasons for us to participate in Girlsday. Hopefully, Girlsday will prompt girls to opt for a career in tech/IT sooner”.
What will the girls do on Girlsday?
“We have put together a very fun and diverse program for Girlsday. Girls will take part in four different workshops. We start with a ‘Act like a Judge’ workshop, in which they discover how Kadaster plays a role in making decisions about ownership, real estate and the use of space. After these social issues, girls go outside for a workshop about measuring boundaries. Then the 3D printing workshop follows and we end the day with a data analysis workshop. So, this is a very diverse program! ”, says Zeynep.
Why do you participate?
Zeynep: “Girlsday is a very fun experience. Not only for the girls, but also for us. The atmosphere was very positive last year. The girls were buzzing with energy and created a lot of liveliness at the office. We are looking forward to Girlsday!”. Linda Buitenhuis, geography teacher at the Gymnasium Apeldoorn, fully supports Zeynep’s enthusiastic stories. “Last year, Girlsday was very educational and varied. The girls gained a good idea of the work of Kadaster, and in particular their IT department. It is very valuable for girls to go outside of the school to explore and discover what is possible in the field of IT and technology. Nowadays many girls still think that the technical sector is really a man’s word. By entering into practice, they see with their own eyes what is possible”.
What is the advantage of a day only for girls?
Linda: “Girlsday makes a good contribution to breaking old ideas and stigmas about girls and technology. The special attention has a positive effect on the girls, they feel more free to be themselves. There is also more time for girls to delve into the background information and social context of the issue. Girls, sometimes even more than boys, really dare to think outside the box and come up with the most creative and innovative solutions. The enthusiasm of the girls is contagious and the ambiance is really good on such a day. Together with the girls, I am already looking forward to participate in the next Girlsday!”.
Gymnasium Apeldoorn is a school that took part in Girlsday for the fifth time this year, with 27 girls visiting the IT department of Kadaster in Apeldoorn.
Text: Marian van Sprakelaar, Translations: Annemijn Smulders. Both working at VHTO Dutch national expert organization on girls/women and science/technology
Photographer: Kevin Hagens