Inspiring girls on International Women in Engineering Day

July 7th, 2017
Lauren Padmore, STEM Ambassador, BWB Consulting

Lauren Padmore, STEM Ambassador, BWB Consulting

What a great initiative Women in Engineering Day is! Currently only 19% of engineering graduates are girls, so we are potentially missing out on a lot of talent. There are many reasons why that may be the case, but one thing is for sure, time and time again we are told that if you give girls good role models, and show them how engineering can be used to solve real problems faced by real people they are more inspired to go on to an engineering degree.

Women in Engineering Day gives organisations like the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Build Environment at Birmingham City University the chance to do just that.

They held an event in June 2017 where 80 students from 8 different schools got together with mentors from industry, many of whom were STEM Ambassadors,  and had the opportunity to find out about a number of different engineering careers young female engineers enjoy, plus try out being an engineer themselves by taking part in our very own Stop the Spread challenge, based on Practical Action’s work on Urban Water and Sanitation programmes in Kenya.

The day clearly had an impact on the girls who were there, both in terms of their own belief in what they can achieve and what options are out there.

‘People underestimate what girls can do. After today I think that if we believe in something we should just, like, go for it’

‘Before, when I thought of engineering I only thought about mechanical, but now I know there are lot of different types and opportunities like biomedical.’

As part of the Stop the Spread challenge the girls had two related tasks

  • Design and build a model of a hand washing device for a primary school in Kenya
  • Produce education materials that will encourage children in the school to wash their hands

Stop the Spread challengeBoth tasks were presented to the rest of the students and the judges. The range of different designs was really impressive, as were the education materials which included songs, plays and posters.

I was particularly pleased that the design task really brought out a deep level of thinking of around the importance of considering how and where a product will be used; how to factor in relevant scientific knowledge, then incorporating all that into the design. Great STEM skills.

’I’ve learnt that the environment is different in different places so you need to think about that when you design something. So in Kenya water will evaporate really quickly so you need to find a solution to stop it from evaporating’’

Hanna, Langley School

My favourite quote of the day however has to be this one,

‘Today I have learnt that I am more creative than I think I am’   …Go girl!!

One response to “Inspiring girls on International Women in Engineering Day”

  1. Stacey McNeill Says:

    This is a great blog – Lovely quote for the student at the end!

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