According to Eurostat (see 'data' page) only 22.8% of employed ICT specialists in Estonia are women. In addition, girls are strongly underrepresented in extracurricular STEM courses among children aged 7-12 (for every ten boys, there is only one girl). The HK Unicorn Squad girls-only hobby groups aim to increase the number of girls that show an interest in STEM in this age-group (lower secondary education level) as well as maintaining that interest over time.
The founders of the movement are Kerstin and Taavi Kotka, a married couple, who started a “girls-only” technology hobby-group for their daughter Helena in September 2018, as she was kicked out from the technology hobby group at school given the explanation that the field is more suitable for boys.
Unicorn Squad hobby group is a “ready-to-use” solution. Teaching materials are fully prepared for the lessons along with video tutorials for the supervisor. Also, equipment for certain courses is provided by the programme. Course modules take place once a week. Teaching materials and equipment (e.g. robots and other teaching materials) for certain lessons are sent to mentors in a big plastic box weekly using a parcel machine. After using them, the mentor returns them or sends them to next group according to instructions from the HK Unicorn Squad project manager.
The interest and demand for girls-only technology hobby groups was so big that within two years the movement has engaged 1200 girls (age 7-14) all over Estonia. Active hobby groups are available in almost every county of the country. The interest keeps on growing and additional hobby groups are constantly opened.