10 FEB 2020

Do the maths. Encouraging girls into engineering.

Civil & Structural Engineer, Carolyn Wright, tells us about her recent experience volunteering at the University of Liverpool’s ‘Girls in Maths’ event, designed to encourage girls to consider careers using maths.

Raising awareness of engineering to young people is something I believe to be our responsibility as the current generation of engineers. We also have the opportunity through this to help build a more diverse industry and a key part of this is encouraging girls to consider engineering as a career option for them. So, when I was offered the opportunity to take part in the University of Liverpool’s ‘Girls in Maths’ event, I jumped at the chance.

The event aimed to give Year 8 girls an insight into the sort of careers maths can lead them into. I joined a whole host of other women from all sorts of backgrounds in both academia and industry who had used maths as the base to their careers. The girls moved round the room in groups, stopping at each table where they had the opportunity to talk to a different professional.

I spoke to the girls about civil engineering, what my day-to-day role involves and built environment design in general, as well as covering the choices I made in school and at university which led me down my specific career path.

This sort of event is something I wish I had had at their age. I think it’s so important to arm young people with the knowledge of the career options that are out there and how they can get into them. It’s particularly important for us to show girls that engineering and other STEM subject based careers are something they can get involved in. Giving them the opportunity to meet women who have been on the journey themselves and can talk about their experiences is vital. It hopefully gives them role models that are relatable, and if it sparks an interest in engineering in a few then we’re making one more step towards a more diverse industry.

Events such as this ultimately help girls make informed choices, which is what we should be aiming to help all young people do. As professionals we have a key role to play in this, helping raise awareness and giving young people the information they need to choose the career that is right for them. I will definitely be keeping my eye out for similar events and I hope that I’ve helped get the girls I met thinking about a potential career in engineering, or at least to give A-level maths a try.