Girls will see a path for themselves if we show how engineering makes a difference

If there was a single key to levelling the gender imbalance in engineering and technology careers, we would have cracked it by now. Plenty of evidence shows programming of prejudice starts with babies, and girls begin to be put off engineering between the ages of five and nine. We need a shift in thinking so people are treated as individuals from birth rather than pigeonholed. There are many good initiatives targeting teenagers – we just need to reach younger children. I wish in this country we had a broader education – a mix of humanities and sciences – for longer. It troubles me that by the time you are 16, you have already narrowed your learning, and by sixth form it’s even narrower. I’m pretty sure we’re not teaching children the right skills for the future. Engineers and technologists need a background in arts and humanities so that when they come to design and innovate, they’re thinking of wider societal impact and unexpected outcomes of what they’ve created.

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