Every Day Should Be “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day”
Engineers around the world constantly shape and reshape our future. Like the Wizard of Oz, they’re the people behind the curtain who create the technologies that change and improve our lives. Unfortunately, engineering is a field dominated by men. Women are only 11% of this country’s engineers, a statistic that shortchanges women and the entire field of engineering science.
From an early age, girls learn of the unspoken bias against women pursuing careers in engineering and science. When I selected electives in middle school – computer coding and an editing lab – I was dismayed to discover I was the only girl in either class.
For the last two summers, I’ve been a counselor/specialist at URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy, a specialty Jewish camp for students entering grades 5-10, where I taught film, and also worked closely with girls in grades 5-7. These remarkable young girls demonstrated a love for chemistry experiments and designing robots that gives me hope that we can increase the number of young women who choose to pursue careers in engineering and science.
Two of our camp’s core values – sakranut (curiosity) and taglit (discovery) – often came to life as I’d listen to my girls ask questions and make comments about their projects: “How can I incorporate gravity into my game design?” or “I never knew how important gear ratios were!” 6 Points’ chugim (electives/group activities) give girls the opportunity to explore new topics, from 3-D printing and augmented reality to Python computer programming.
By encouraging girls of all ages to explore concepts and ideas related to science, computers, and engineering, our camp community helps them discover and harness the power they have to make a difference in the world. Add in female counselors and instructors who already have a dedication to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education and you have a winning recipe for success.
A more diverse engineering workforce will better prepare our society for the challenges that lie ahead. So, go out and introduce your daughter, niece, sister, cousin, neighbor, or friend to engineering. It will be good for them and good for our world!
Today is International Women’s Day, a day designated to highlight year-round efforts and initiatives that truly make a positive difference for the world’s women.
This blog post is adapted from Why Everyday Should be “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day”