The red chair campaign

Girls are taking on technology one seat at a time

Story by Kaitlyn Gordon, print photo editor

They are around the globe working everyday to make it possible for girls to share their stories and reach their goals. It is their everyday mission to ensure that people recognize the importance of the roles women are playing in technology fields. They invite people everywhere to help validate these roles.

These women are asking others to sit with them. To take a seat in the red chair. To be the support that holds campaigns like the Red Chair together.

“I absolutely notice that there are less girls in my STEM or technology classes. I already knew to begin with that there wouldn’t be many girls in these classes because most girls are not interested in STEM or technology,” sophomore Molly Laird said. “Girls are most interested in the arts rather than computer science or engineering of any kind. I do believe, however, that this field is full of arts.”

Though they are more common than in the past, women don’t make up the majority in STEM careers. However, many girls are beginning to believe it’s time for a change.

“The amount of guy voices over girl voices during discussions doesn’t seem to bother me until one the guys starts ‘mansplaining’. They’re talking to you as if you don’t understand just because you’re a girl, or you can be talking and then interrupted half-way through,” junior Margaret Debenport said. “It doesn’t happen often. They probably aren’t even doing it on purpose, and I guess it doesn’t bother me that much until it turns into a joke on women, as if [a woman] can’t understand or do something just because they’re a woman.”

Computer science teacher Mark Ahrens work to ensure girls can find their place in STEM, technology and computer science classrooms around the campus. The presence of women in both STEM careers and classrooms is thought to be vital if progress in technology is ever going to be made.

“Girls actually offer a really good perspective in computer science. Boys tend to have a very straight forward approach where girls tend to have a more well-rounded approach to their designing and programming,” Ahrens said. “I do support all students, but I am aware that there’s a shortage of women in the IT field, so I do support them the best that I can whenever they’re in class or in other endeavors or opportunities they experience.”

Students are even making an effort toward further involving girls in these technology areas. As shown on the Red Chair Campaign website,, there are ways to host an event of your own by downloading the event kit. Students like freshman Caden Jean, however, are thinking of their own ways to make a change.

“Getting girls more involved would have to be a group effort,” Jean said. “We need to start by getting to the younger generations and possibly go to the middle schools to talk to those younger students so we can spark an interest early on. Maybe if we had a free day at the high school, a group of students involved in technology could take a trip to go explain to the girls why women should join computer science and not just men.”

The mission the Red Chair Campaign seeks to accomplish is to make sure that women everywhere know that their voices in technology rooms are welcomed and heard, and that can never happen if students and younger generations don’t start making a change now.

A statement on the Red Chair Campaign website reads, “We invite you to validate and recognize the important role women play in creating future technology by taking a small but symbolic action: sit in a red chair and share your story.”