Girls' Day bij BIC
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Across the country today, girls between the ages of 12 and 15 were introduced to technical professions and training. It was Girls’ Day, an annual day designed to get girls excited about engineering. For Brainport Industries, Brainport Industries Campus and Brainport Industries College, it was a great occasion to throw open the doors to this target group that is more important than ever. And so this afternoon, 130 girls from Rythovius College, Sondervinck, and Were Di stood somewhat uncomfortably at the gates of the campus, only to leave a good two hours later full of new experiences.

Why Girls’ Day? Only 16% of engineering jobs for women

Technology is more important than ever to society. A job in this sector offers a good salary and job security, and in addition, the labor market is eager for new talent. Moreover, it is important for society that new engineering and technology is conceived, designed and made by a diverse group of makers.
Unfortunately, this is not the case now: the proportion of women in STEM, engineering, and IT is only 16%. Employers are also missing a huge pool of talent. Research shows that girls rule out studying or working in STEM, engineering, and IT at an early age. This is due in part to a limited view of technical courses and professions, low confidence in science subjects, and a lack of role models.

“You are here to see what engineering can do for you,” Martine Dubling, director of Brainport Industries College, said upon entering. “And where better to do that than on the campus of the manufacturing industry, where education, business, and innovation come together? So grab this opportunity and be surprised by the opportunities that technology can offer you, too!”

Important experience

Girls’ Day can be an essential experience for girls to choose a technical or IT profession, they know at VHTO, which has been organizing the day for ten years. “That girls choose these professions is still not self-evident. To make that choice a matter of course, we are using Girls’ Day 2024 to draw attention to the low proportion of women in technical and IT professions with our ‘fix the system, not the girls’ campaign.”

Knikkeren op een vooraf geprogrammeerd terrein bij BIC
Playing marbles on a pre-programmed floor at BIC

At Brainport Industries Campus today, Avans, Fontys, KMWE, Siemens, and Summa College helped fill out the afternoon. Moreover, some twenty role models, all women in technical professions, were there to talk to the girls during a genuine High Tech Tea. This led to a very diverse program, with, on the one hand, a lot of explanation about what it is like to be active in a technical profession and, on the other hand, getting to work with it themselves. For example, Avans had the participants write a little program with which balls could follow a problematic course. It turned out to be a hit because while it is difficult for most girls of this age to talk about their plans for the future, it turned out to be a lot easier during the game.

Better prepared

The girls got to work with pre-programmed balls, were given a tour through the heart of KMWE, learned what you can do with AR and VR, saw what an automated production line of a car factory looks like and could feel for themselves how important technology is for the fashion industry. Meanwhile, some less shy than others, they engaged in conversation with the role models. At the end of the afternoon, full of new knowledge and experiences, they were better prepared for the next important choice in their school career. And maybe even become the colleague of one of the role models a few years later. Each and every one of these women had already blistered their tongues for that purpose. “I’m sure not all of them will choose a job in engineering, but I’m sure we were able to show a lot of girls today that this could be something for them,” concluded one of them.

Rolmodellen Mandy Feyen (Lemmens) en Saskia Bouwhuis (Summa) leggen uit wat een baan in de techniek kan opleveren.
Roll models Mandy Feyen (Lemmens) and Saskia Bouwhuis (Summa) explain the girls what a job in tech can entail.