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Preview: Engineering Change

Posted on: Tuesday 04 July 2017 10:57am by Esther Kaufmann

Esther Kaufmann, session producer for Engineering Changeon why opening up STEM careers to girls is still a pressing social issue – and what we can do to help.

Thursday 6th July, 2pm, in the HUBS Common Room 

Let’s face an ugly truth: most young girls struggle to name even a single female engineer. Only 3 in 500 girls at 11 go on to study anything technical at university, and less than 9% of the UK engineering workforce are women. The Royal Academy of Engineering in 2012 predicted that we needed 1.5m more STEM Professionals by 2020, and over 60% of the current UK school population will do jobs that currently do not exist – mostly in the STEM sector.

Don’t we have to prepare our kids for a world where almost everyone might need STEM skills at work? And don’t we have to prepare for a time when the lack of female STEM speicalists will become costly for us all, when the female engineers are really needed to keep things functioning?

Personally I thought that in the 21st century, STEM and girls would no longer be an issue. We have come so far with emancipation, I just assumed engineering and girls were no longer a big deal. Girls can play with chemistry kits just like boys, right? Things have changed, haven’t they? But like most of us, I was wrong.

We imminently need more female role models for girls to start envisioning themselves in the STEM field, and we urgently need TV shows for stressed-out teachers to use in their classrooms, and for unsure parents to watch with their little girls.

There are a number of new STEM-inspired shows aiming to shift the needle, and this session features speakers from some of the people involved in maing these programmes; thankfully, public and private broadcasters like the BBC have some amazing innovative projects to come very soon. Tech companies are finally willing to collaborate – and when even the Power Puff Girls start to code, we know we might be finally getting somewhere…

Panel
Vanessa Amberleigh, Executive Producer, CBeebies
Lesley Bailey, VP, Channel Marketing & Brand Management, Kids, Turner EMEA
Sandie Dinning, Head of Strategy & Planning, Zinc Media
Helen Heggie, Consultant, STEMFirst

Esther Kaufmann

About the author

Esther Kaufmann

Freelance, Writer

Esther Kaufmann, from Hamburg (www.estherkaufmann.com), writes scripts, stage-plays, radio plays, games and prose. She is also a dramatic advisor in theatre and with scripts, developing ideas and involved in numerous collaborative projects. She has written a number of internationally credited shorts, worked in series bible development, won multiple prizes and has been awarded creative… Read more

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