Inspiring tomorrow’s women engineers

Inspiring tomorrow’s women engineers

Scania in Södertälje played host to about 50 female upper secondary school students last Thursday as part of the global IGE Day project. Such field trips are aimed at increasing women’s interest in both technical subjects and careers in engineering.

Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day (IGE Day) is an initiative started by female engineers. It’s aimed at increasing interest in technical subjects among young women by allowing them to visit companies and to see what the engineering profession actually involves.

Zahra Alabaychi, Farah Baballos, Ellinor Björklind and Lovisa Dungmar from Ösby School at the test track.

Zahra Alabaychi, Farah Baballos, Ellinor Björklind and Lovisa Dungmar from Ösby School at the test track.

Young women in Years 8 and 9 at various schools in the Södertälje and Stockholm areas were invited to Scania last Thursday. Visiting students had the opportunity to see examples of the kinds of projects engineers are involved in.
Hans Eklund, Project Manager Employer Branding, hosted the event. “It’s a lot to take in, as it’s such a broad profession,” he said.

Hands-on experience

The students were able to try activities including controlling a robot with a joystick, steering a radio-controlled vehicle on the test track, and visiting the physics laboratory.

Evelina Lindström, maintenance engineer.

Evelina Lindström, maintenance engineer.

“We want to maintain the connection between the information we’re providing and the practical side,” said Eklund. “The activity on the test track isn’t so much about driving the vehicle as it is about how it’s programmed and who does this task.”

Female role models

The students also had the chance to meet several female engineers. One of these was Evelina Lindström, who works as a maintenance engineer at Scania in Luleå. “It’s important to ensure that young women aren’t put off by the fact that the profession is male dominated,” she said.

Wu Mengxi, systems scientist.

Wu Mengxi, systems scientist.

Another stop on the visit was with systems scientist Wu Mengxi, who works with truck body systems. She said she believed a field trip was a good way to bring girls’ attention to the profession.

“I think field trips do a lot,” she said. “They help the girls to understand that there are women in the industry.”

Gender divide

Accompanying the students on the visit was Kina Ingelman, school counsellor at Ösby School. She said there is a major gender divide when it comes to students’ choices at high school. “There are only a few girls involved in the technology courses,” she said. “There’s generally quite an even distribution of genders in courses at the university level, but not when it comes to engineering courses.”

Kina Ingelman, school counsellor at Ösby School.

Kina Ingelman, school counsellor at Ösby School.

The students agreed it was good to be able to come out and see first hand how things work.

“It’s good to know that women can do the same things as men,” said Farah Baballos, a student at Ösby School.