On International Women’s Day (IWD) 2016, Siemens launched a new education project to challenge gender stereotypes. The SeeWomen (Girls in STEM) project will inspire and motivate young girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). Launched at Withington Girls’ School, the project will be delivered in association with the Girls’ Schools Association (GSA) and will involve girls from nearby schools.
SeeWomen is one of many resources for education available through Siemens Education along with the Curiosity Project, a three-year engagement programme designed to engage young people considering a STEM career. The UK has a strong heritage in engineering, but not enough young people are choosing a STEM study path that could lead to becoming an engineer.
Maria Ferraro, Chief Financial Officer at Siemens plc, believes that Siemens’ work in STEM education will help to address the critical gender imbalance and the risk of having too few qualified engineers.
“Siemens’ support for SeeWomen is a positive drive to show young girls that women make great engineers and scientists. SeeWomen aims to bust the myth that STEM careers are difficult, boring and just for boys,” she said.
Encouraging and fostering curiosity in young girls to think positively about their potential in STEM careers early can help challenge misconceptions about the subjects.
Caroline Jordan, President of the Girls’ Schools Association, said about GSA’s involvement in the project: “Girls who attend Girls’ Schools Association schools are significantly more likely to study STEM A-levels, but nevertheless they tend to pursue careers in medicine rather than engineering. So we’re delighted to be partnering with Siemens in this exciting initiative and will be inviting girls from neighbouring state and independent schools around the country to join us in learning about the many ways they can make a difference to the world through engineering and science.”
Withington Girls’ School Headmistress, Sue Marks, said: “With a significant percentage of our girls opting to study STEM subjects at A-level, and many later going on to pursue successful careers in related fields, we are delighted to have been invited to host this inaugural event. Our young women are encouraged to follow their own academic passions here, and there are no gender stereotypes – but we appreciate that not all girls have the same opportunities and we very much hope that the SeeWomen programme will help to raise awareness nationally of the wealth of wonderful options that exist in the workplace for women with backgrounds in science, technology, engineering or mathematics.”
When Withington opened its doors in 1890, its founders’ original vision was that girls should have access to the same education as boys and that the sciences should form a key part of the curriculum. “That ethos remains at the heart of our school today and we are extremely proud of our girls’ ongoing success in the STEM subjects,“ added Marks.
SeeWomen will be rolled out around the UK in collaboration with GSA. For the next phase of the project, classroom-ready workshops and a series of smaller showcase presentations will be delivered for girls and young women to learn more about careers in STEM. The shows will be delivered in schools around the UK by ambassadors from Siemens and the GSA.