Gender inequality and discrimination are pressing global issues – girls and women aged 15-29 are 3 times more likely than male youth to not be enrolled in school.

Talula, a teenager from the United States, and her teammates from team ACT developed an app to combat stereotypes and help push back against the challenges that keep girls out of school and work. Their app, Go Girl, is a game that showcases the numerous gender-specific challenges girls face during their adolescence.

Targeted at 13-18 year-old girls, Go Girl addresses education disparities and gender biases, as well as specific issues like forced marriage, teenage pregnancy, and high school drop-out rates. Go Girl incorporates representations of these challenges into a mobile game where the user plays as a teenage girl trying to make her way to school while avoiding or overcoming obstacles.

“Our app is designed to be a gamified representation of solving real issues many girls around the world face” the team of middle schoolers explained. “The player must help the character in the game to get to school on time by avoiding obstacles and collecting prizes.”

Gender Stereotypes and their long-term effects: 

Taking on the Sustainable Development Goal of Gender Equality, Talula and Team ACT stand out for their innovative approach to a suite of complicated issues, as well as for their decision to focus on intervening in early adolescence. Gender discrimation and stereotypes ramp up after childhood, and have long-lasting effects. A UN report on progress towards mitigating gender-based inequality found that women represent 39% of the workforce but only 27% of managerial positions. A host of factors impact that statistic, from stereotypes and biases against women in the workplace and leadership positions, to lack of education and opportunity, to cultural expectations of women’s role in society.

For this team of middle school students, those stereotypes already weighed heavy on them, and they noticed the effects of such stereotypes in their community and beyond. Talula and Team ACT’s willingness to take a first step to acknowledging – and addressing – the gender-based challenges young people face inspires us and reminds us that addressing global problems can start small, with one age group, with one app, one game.

What problem will you begin to solve? It’s not too late to join Technovation Girls as a student participant and work with a team to create a technology-based solution to a complicated problem you care about. Are you an adult? Girls like Talula need your experience, expertise, and encouragement as a mentor. Learn more and register.