Image from Imperial Wikichem. Photo from Dr Jess Wade

International Women in Engineering Day 2017

Today (23rd June) is International Women in Engineering Day.

Across social media, companies and organisations are tweeting and posting to show their support for women in engineering.

Tweets which show employees looking happy, often standing in front of large equipment!

Here at NUSTEM, we think that it’s really important to show the diversity of the engineering profession along with other STEM careers.

American activist Marian Wright Edelman said

‘You can’t be what you don’t see’

It’s not having role models exactly, but thinking that if someone else, who is like you, can be in a career, then so can you.  We hear parents tell their children ‘You’re just like your Aunty, she’s very good with numbers.  Perhaps you could be an accountant like her’ or words to that effect.

We believe that it’s important that children and young people see ‘people like them’ in a range of careers.

In school, one of the most common sources of information when students are ‘researching’ is wikipedia.  And wikipedia is a good starting point.  But what if students want to find out about women who work in science or engineering.  How good is wikipedia then?

Sadly, it’s not great.  Only 15.5% of Wikipedia articles on people are about women. So when students look for information about people in science and engineering, they’ll get a skewed viewpoint.

Here at NUSTEM we’ve teamed up with Dr Jess Wade from Imperial College and Dr Alice White, resident wikipedian at Wellcome Trust to change this imbalance on wikipedia.

On 25th July we will be hosting a day-long wikipedia Hackathon for girls aged 14 – 18 in the North East.  Girls will find out how to judge the reliability of a source, when and where to reference and how to edit wikipedia to create their own content.  They’ll then edit or create wikipedia pages with information about some of the great women who are working in science.

If you’re interested in joining us, and are aged 14-18, then please sign up on our eventbrite page.

And if you’re looking for more images and stories about women in engineering then follow the hashtag #IWED on twitter.

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