Role models enable children to “see” themselves in certain careers. But in traditionally male dominated industries, like engineering, where only 11% of the workforce are female, less female engineers exist to role model engineering as a possible career to young girls.
So it’s not too surprising that STEMazing (a specialist STEM outreach company) found that 78% of girls aged 13 – 18 years said they wouldn’t consider engineering as a career.
And the underlying reasons to “why not?” highlight a lack of understanding of what engineering really is.
What is engineering?
Engineering is an incredibly broad discipline – that yes, encompasses the hands on grease monkey changing a mechanical part in a machine or the civil engineer tweaking the design to a bridge.
But is also includes the teams of creative individuals who are continually innovating solutions to the world’s problems – from finding ways to deliver clean water supplies to remote villages in third world countries, to tackling the underlying causes of climate change.
With such a range of career paths, role modelling that variety is important.
Role Modelling Online
Face-to-face engagement with ambassadors for engineering has been made impossible in the past 6 months due to COVID-19 related social distancing measures. But like so much else, role modelling has moved online, with the potential to expose young people to an even greater range of engineering careers.
STEMazing Ltd are host to some videos of amazing women in STEM and engineers at the University of the West of England (UWE) Bristol have also recorded videos to inspire local kids. And in fact UWE are planning to recruit a pool of diverse engineers to inspire through online profiles, and hopefully come January, face-to-face sessions in school and on campus – so watch this space!
(You can view a presentation of the STEMazing Ltd survey here)