Dozens of secondary school girls are celebrating International Women’s Day by trying their hands at engineering activities at the University of Dundee.
Women are considered underrepresented in STEM – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – fields, making up a small percentage of the overall UK STEM workforce.
Looking to change this narrative, staff at Dundee’s School of Science and Engineering invited the group of more than 30 pupils from Arbroath Academy on campus to discover engineering for themselves and meet female role models from the industry.
During the visit on Wednesday 8 March, which coincided with International Women’s Day, the S2 girls were tasked with designing, building and testing blade configurations for a small-scale wind turbine. They acted like an engineering consultancy, explored emerging technologies such as 3D printing, and were encouraged to consider important issues like renewable energy.
“This has been such an amazing event, and it has been such a pleasure hosting the girls from Arbroath Academy,” said Dr Margi Vilnay, lecturer within the School of Science and Engineering.
“Engineering is such an exciting profession and holds the key to finding innovative solutions to many of the challenges the world is currently facing. Unfortunately, not enough young people are coming into the sector and definitely not enough women.
“I hope that some of today's challenges, like creating effective wind turbine designs, sparks interest and that we see these young people changing the world for the better.”
The visit is part of a wider initiative on increasing gender parity in STEM. The School has previously hosted similar visits and hopes that collaborations such as this continue to engage and inspire young girls.
Dave Souter, Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) coordinator at Arbroath Academy, said, “We often see mathematicians, scientists and innovators represented by the male image and we need greater female representation to show girls that they too can pursue these subjects at school and university.
“We want to remove stereotypes and instil confidence, develop a creative environment, and unlock the power of collaboration. By combining technology with passion, we can encourage girls to follow their dreams.
“We at Arbroath Academy are grateful to the support we have received from Margi Vilnay and her colleagues and students in organising, challenging and supporting our young people here today. Going forward, we look forward to working together on the next steps of this very important journey.”