Reading pretty much anything about girls and pop culture today, you would be forgiven for despairing over the incessant bombardment of messages about conforming to ideal body standards.
But I’m here to tell you that there are some alternative messages filtering through to impressionable young girls.
Yep, some people actually want girls to become engineers.
In fact, February 21 was this year’s Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, “a national movement that shows girls how creative and collaborative engineering is and how engineers are changing our world.”
This awesome venture is part of Engineers Week, which has a distinct focus on the role of female engineers in the workforce.
Pretty cool, huh?
The engineering inspiration doesn’t end there. In 2012, engineer Debbie Sterling created GoldieBlox, a toy aimed at girls that combines stories with engineering.
In the first release, protagonist Goldie builds a spinning machine, encouraging readers to use the included pegboard, wheels, ribbon, cranks, and other assorted components to build along with her.
Encouraging girls to become engineers, and focusing on the impact engineers can have on the world, is a powerful way to bring about change in a traditionally male-dominated industry.
If you are (or know) a high school girl, check out Engineer Your Life to find out how you can aspire to be an engineer.
Beats aspiring to be a princess, doesn’t it?
Tessa Needham finished her PhD in Performing Arts at the University of Western Sydney (Australia) in 2008. Her thesis explored the potential of performance to provoke change, and part of her research was Bodily, a solo theatrical performance about body image. She loves technology and the creative arts, and is passionate about the different cultural forces affecting the body image of girls and women. She teaches computers and does freelance creative work: www.tessaneedham.com.