For this year’s International Women in Engineering Day we’re not just celebrating the current leading figures in the industry, but the girls who will grow up to be them.
This year’s official INWED theme is #raisingthebar. This can mean women who are raising the bar with breakthroughs in STEM, companies who are raising the standards of diversity and inclusion, and education that has raised the bar on challenging gender stereotypes.
As one of the many contextual factors that contribute to gender bias, the media must also help to raise the bar in its contribution to perpetuating gender stereotypes. One of the best examples of this is Bitz & Bob. Bitz & Bob is the animation that addresses the gender imbalance in STEM by offering pre-schoolers an aspirational female lead in engineering to learn from, simply by watching TV.
Bitz is an 8 year old inventor and engineer, able to problem solve and create out of anything she can find. Bitz & Bob aims to inspire the next generation of engineers by making STEM accessible to anyone. By communicating this message, and inviting little girls to copy engineers like Bitz, we will contribute to having even more women to celebrate on International Women in Engineering Day.
Whilst girls often perform just as well as boys in STEM subjects, research shows that what holds them back in their careers is the belief that they are not as capable as boys. We are speaking directly to young women in schools with Siemens SeeWomen to tackle this misperception.
SeeWomen (www.siemens.co.uk/seewomen) is a UK roadshow which places a spotlight on modern STEM role models and inspires girls to raise their aspirations and pursue STEM careers. SeeWomen has reached 1,700 girls aged 11 to 14 years, at 31 state and independent schools and has been featured at the Big Bang Festival. Our research has shown that the show has positively changed young girls’ perspectives on STEM being “boring and done in a lab” or only for “smart” people. Our free SeeWomen classroom resources also support teachers to deliver the show themselves, so they can help their students see how their creativity and STEM skills can be applied to their future careers.