Women in Technology
Over the years I’ve tried numerous ways to get girls involved in my technical classes…not easy to do. Some courses, like drafting, seemed to draw more girls than, say, auto shop. When engineering was introduced to our department I thought I’d see a rise in the number of girls enrolled. This wasn’t the case, it seemed for some reason they were just as intimidated to sign up for engineering as they were other tech classes. I had heard from some of my students that there were girls who wanted to sign up but for whatever reason didn’t. I wanted to figure out what was going on so I went directly to the source…the girls in my class. We discussed the issues and decided that the intimidation factor of being in a class with mostly boys was probably the number one detractor. Also misinformation about the class, particularly the curriculum, also surfaced. What we decided to do was form a “Girls in Engineering” club. The girls developed flyers to post and got permission from math and science teachers to give a short presentation in their classes and invited the girls to a monthly meeting. At that meeting they discussed everything from what they were doing in class to opportunities for women in engineering. They went to seminars in the area designed to encourage girls to explore engineering. Our numbers the following year tripled!
Let’s continue this dialogue — if you have a technique you’ve used to encourage girls to your program that’s been successful, please post it here and let us know!