Gender Respect Project 2013-2016

Aiming to help children and young people to understand, question and challenge gender inequality and violence.

Girls into STEM

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Asking questions



As part of the primary school’s Careers Week 2014 the Year 5 girls enjoyed a visit by Liz Kettle. She is employed by a voluntary organisation named WEST (Women in Engineering, Science and Technology) that encourages women and girls to take up positions in non-traditional professions in Science, Technology, Engineering and the Built environment. Liz was accompanied by three female students who study Engineering at College. A presentation with photographs of girls and women provided the initial stimulus for the girls to start thinking about the professions these women may be employed in. The girls tried to use clues from the photographs to make informed guesses but there were definitely some surprises. The point that came across very clearly was that girls and women are able to do exactly the same jobs as boys and men. They subsequently took part in small group activities. Provided with spaghetti and marshmallows of different sizes, the aim was to build the tallest tower possible. With the help of the students, the girls experimented with different structures and collaborated to build strong tall towers. Reflecting on their learning experiences, one girl stated that “I learnt that engineering can actually be a splendid job. At first I thought it would be a bit boring but after I loved it. I want to be an engineer when I am older.” Another girl said “I learnt that girls can do the jobs that boys do. And it is really hard to make a tower with marshmallows and spaghetti. My favourite thing was I could eat some of the marshmallows.”

Constructing a tower



More information about WEST can be found on their website   Ivonne