Its International Women Engineering Day! How to inspire your daughter to become one?

Jun 23, 2022 | Red Deer

June 23 is the International Women in Engineering Day! Did you know that in Canada women make up less than 25% of people employed in STEM careers, and accounted for only 20.6% of newly licensed engineers in 2020? That’s why Engineers Canada launched the 30 by 30 initiative, aiming to increase the number of female newly licensed engineers to 30% by 2030.

Among other provinces and territories in Canada, our province Alberta has the third highest percentage of newly female engineers. Yay to us! 😊

The world challenges are becoming more complex, and engineering will find the best solutions for these problems when solved by using all perspectives and experiences. Increasing female presence in the engineering field will lead to better solutions.  

There are some federally funded programs to engage girls and women in STEM. One such example is Robogals, where one of our instructors, Ilena, was actively involved for a long time when she was a mechanical engineering student at the University of Calgary until well after she graduated.

 

How to inspire your daughter to become one?

They say to overcome gender imbalance requires the collective efforts of governments, industry stakeholders and education institutions. But in our opinion, making girls interested in STEM is the first step and should start early – and family plays a critical role. But how? Here is some advice – some are taken from How to Raise a Female Engineer and Want your Daughter to be an Engineer? Here’s How You Do it.

 

Engaging girls in STEM! Role models do not have to be famous engineers, but can be those who they meet in real life. Here, our engineer Ilena is showing these girls how to build a robot. Special STEM activities like Robotics and Coding will be added this summer, and these girls are so excited!

 

  1. Make Math a Girl Thing. Believe that boys & girls are equally capable at math. We have repeatedly said about this in our blogs – this is because we notice that parents, mostly and especially moms, without realizing that they plant misleading beliefs to their kids, often say something like “math is hard” “I’m not a math person so are my girls”. If we want to teach our girls to feel secure with their body image, why not instill their confidence in math? Read more: Girls cannot do math? Think again!
  2. It’s ok not to be a “cool kid”. Many teenagers and preteens often believe that it’s not cool to be seen as someone who likes to study hard, or to be good at math. Make them know that it’s ok to say no to hanging out with friends because you choose to study, and it’s ok if you are labelled as “nerd”. Some ten or twenty years later your child will realize that success is not determined by whether you were a cool kid or not when they were at school.
  3. Don’t just give girly toys, but also provide a wide range of other choices like Legos, blocks, and when they’re a bit older also robotic toys and encourage them to learn coding. I see my daughter who grew up with her twin brother, has better hands-on/tinkering skills than me (her mom) such as constructing Ikea furniture, or tinkering with computer – both hardware and software; perhaps because since early she was exposed to both kind of toys. This is just my personal observation, but many studies suggested that playing with both boy and girl toys is good for kids. Limiting exposure to just girl toys could make girls believe that appearance and looking attractive is a big part of being a girl.
  4. Talk numbers when there is a chance. In our last week’s article Want your children to be good at math? Get them play with their dads!, fathers have a great influence in children’s math skills because they tend to talk about numbers more than moms when playing or interacting with their kids. So if your daughter like baking, make it as a chance to apply their math skills. Which one is biggest: ½, 1/3 or ¼ cup of sugar? If you need 2 eggs with 3 cups of flour, how many eggs needed with 6 cups of flour? With 1 ½ cups of flour? When shopping, we can ask them to figure out which type of apples is the cheapest? What is the price per unit (no calculator of course)? What is the percentage of price increase of a pack of butter since last month? Etc.
  5. Show them role models. It doesn’t have to be someone famous like Katherine Johnson, the distinguished NASA mathematician, but can be a person that your daughter meets in real life, like her math or science teacher, math tutor (at our centre, we have three brilliant female math instructors right now), dentist, etc.

Let’s inspire our daughters to be whatever they want - including to be an engineer or working in a STEM field. Give them support they need to reach their fullest potential!


Mathnasium of Red Deer is your neighbourhood’s math-only learning centre, and we are here to help your child. Our centre director, Riwan, and the whole team, would be happy to meet you! We are conveniently located in the shopping destination area in Red Deer: 5250 22nd St, Unit 30 B – at the Gaetz Avenue Crossing shopping centre, in the same area as Chapters Indigo/Starbucks, Michael Arts, Petland and Ashley, and the phone number is 403-872 MATH (6284). 

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