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The 18th of February has been designated as Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, an offshoot of National Engineers Week.

A few days ago we asked Dr. AnnMarie Thomas, a professor of engineering at the University of St. Thomas, to share her thoughts on the occasion. If you haven’t read her guest editorial, please do check it out. However, the gist was that it’s our responsibility to let girls — and everyone else! — know that engineering and other technical vocations are options.

The IAGTED page lists activities going on nationwide. But there are things we can do as individuals to encourage girls to pursue technical careers. As AnnMarie wrote in her editorial,

I challenge all of you makers out there to introduce a girl to engineering- pick up a soldering iron, go on a factory tour, visit a windmill, or share the beauty of Bernoulli’s equation. And feel free to include her little brother, father or mother!

So, readers, what are you going to do? Leave a comment.

[Image: Argonne National Laboratory]

John Baichtal

John Baichtal

My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal nerdage.net


  • tgmake

    I showed the picture from this post to my three year old daughter and she was pretty excited about the safety glasses the girls were wearing, so we went to my workshop and had her try on my safety glasses. She was prety stoked. Maybe we’ll try and make something with the stuff in the recycling bin later on. Slow and steady exposure…maybe she’ll be an engineer like her old man after all. :)

  • Catherine Wyman

    Great idea! Including girls in mentoring relationships is an excellent way to get them interested and engaged in engineering. Studies show that in sixth grade, girls have equal interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) as boys do, but by ninth grade, that interest has evaporated. Studies further show that girls are most interested in engineering when they can use it to make the world a better place. “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day” is a great idea because through the mentoring relationship, middle school girls can be introduced to engineering and learn how to help others.

  • mgspeed

    As a stay at home dad of 2 girls, I’ve become quite the feminist. It’s good that the importance of teaching girls that they can become anything is becoming more popular, but it’s sad that these ideas are still revolutionary in 2010. My girls had tools in their hands from the time they were about 2. At ages 6 and 7 one has a passion for building with an engineers focus, and one is decidedly more artistic, but they both use just about any age appropriate tool. As makers we should involve our children in our hobby as much as safely possible, whether they are girls or boys.
    Ending on a positive note: Great article, great idea, bring this focus to an ever wider audience.

  • DanYHKim

    I was reading about the impact of college gender ratios on the dating scene at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/07/fashion/07campus.html

    I think one draw for young women would be the relative abundance of men in engineering colleges.

  • DanYHKim
  • RocketGuy

    I’m doing this with my neighbor’s kid. She’s brilliant, and her dad is also a geek, but if it comes from me I guess it’s also “social” so she’s engaged on another level. Well, I also have more time, since I’m not busy being dad.

    So far we’ve progressed from the snap-together electronics sets to bread-boarding a power supply for future electronics projects.

    At some point I hope she’ll be soldering together a few projects, she does love the robots.

    I welcome our future engineering overlords.