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Attracting Girls To Engineering

Statement “girls are not interested into engineering” is wrong.

Take me as an example. I had loving parents, but they had strong opinion what kind of toys are meant for girls. I beg them, but still never got a car or train to play with. Never understood why I cannot wear pretty dresses AND play with the trains?

Later at school we had craftsmanship lessons. Girls did cooking, knitting, crochet, weaving, boys could build something from wood and they took plumbing lessons – one thing I was interested in, but never were allowed to try. Because I was a girl.

It did not stop even at university… One of my professors repeatedly told me: “No way you wrote this code yourself!” It was so frustrating… I did not get chances to show what I am capable of OR every time I delivered something, my work got questioned just because I have no penis!

Based on my experience here are seven simple suggestions how you can attract girls to engineering:

  1. give chances to girls to try
  2. do not question results what they deliver. No comments that they could do it better
  3. invite not just one girl, but all of her girlfriends. It is safer to fail, if your friends are around you
  4. find a role model. Tell stories about women: the very first programmer, did very first debugging, wrote code to fly to the moon etc.
  5. listen when a girl talks
  6. make no suggestions if she does not ask for those. Let her figure it out for herself
  7. if you see somebody doing opposite what I wrote in 1-6, call him/her out, tell that it is wrong. Tell to the girl, that it is wrong

Day by day I try to apply these steps with my two girls. They are not interested into plumbing and I am not pushing it (it was my wish not theirs), but we support them what ever they want to do.

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One thought on “Attracting Girls To Engineering

  1. I had all this rubbish about gender-specific roles knocked out of me at a very early age, when my mother ticked me off for asking why she was changing an electrical plug (my father was away working). She had worked in electrical retail before I was born and knew what she was doing. Of course, back in those days, gender stereotyping was much stronger, so little wonder that as an impressionable child, I had an incorrect view.

    Only a few years later, my primary school taught me and other boys (age 7+) to sew. This wasn’t any sort of progressive school; just one where the teachers thought “this is a valuable life skill these lads will need at some time or another”. And my mother taught me to cook, too. And to type, at a time when “keyboard skills” were something that usually only women were taught.