Join Us In Promoting "Introduce A Girl To Engineering Day" This February 24th

This February 24th is national "Introduce A Girl To Engineering Day." The holiday was set up to help encourage more women around the world to get involved in engineering.

Of course, at Taskworld, we support women in getting involved with any type of engineering. But as we're a software development company, we'd especially like to take this opportunity to promote the day and encourage more women to get involved in software engineering.

The Origins of the Day

Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day began in 2001 as the result of a collaboration between N.S.P.E., I.B.M.. and the National Engineering Week Foundation.

Everyone involved in setting up the national day felt that the number of women involved in engineering and S.T.E.M. was lower than it should be. That's because, as recently as the '80s, women made up only 5.8% of engineers in the United States.

So they dedicated a day during engineering week to introducing young girls to S.T.E.M. professions. They hoped that exposing more girls to those working within these industries would encourage them to pursue the diverse roles and positions available.

According to the Discover Girl Day website "Girl Day is a worldwide campaign to engage girls in engineering. Thousands of people--engineers, educators, and others--act as Role Models, facilitate engineering activities, and educate girls about how engineers change our world."

Real-world Stories That Highlight the Need for This Day

At Taskworld, we're thrilled to have two phenomenal female engineers on our team. Pattawan Gerlings "Oi" and Thuy Phung "Tyra" are both fantastic engineers pushing our projects forward and represent a couple of different reasons this day is so crucial.


A need for girls to discover engineering at a young age

Oi shared, "My passion for programming started when I was 14. I took a computer programming class using the C language. The teacher assigned us a coding challenge where we needed to solve how to write a code that would print a pyramid of stars (*).

Trying to solve this problem excited me and taught me that the computer could be more powerful when we program it to support our work and needs. I decided I wanted to be a programmer (Funny, I like this word more than Software Engineer/Software Developer). So, I pursued my dream by getting a Bachelor's degree in Information Technology. Soon after graduating, I landed my first job as a Jr. System developer and haven't stopped since."

If Oi hadn't been exposed at an early age, she might have never developed a passion for engineering. Many girls still aren't being exposed, so who knows all the excellent engineering the world misses out on!


A need for more encouragement and ongoing support

Thuy Phung (Tyra) needed strong support to challenge all the doubters and detractors.

"In my last year in high school, I had no idea about technology or engineering. Almost all of my female friends wanted to be teachers, accountants, or nurses. When I asked my dad for advice on which universities I should attend, he suggested I register for a technical university because he thought technology would experience more growth in the future. So, I decided to pursue software engineering in college.

However, I did not have a good experience on the first day of university. A guy seated next to me told me, "You see, all the students are men. Engineering is not for a girl. You'll never pass the technical subjects." I felt frustrated between hostility like that and the challenge of coding and programming.

I started believing that maybe engineering is not for girls.

So, I called my dad to ask him about changing my major. I told him I was worried girls couldn't learn technology. Thankfully, my dad simply asked, "Why not? Do you think my daughter is not as intelligent as a man? You haven't yet tried your best, so how do you know you can't do it?"

With his encouragement and support, I was able to push through and finally graduate and become a professional software engineer. Now I see that girls can study any major or subject they want. No girls should think that girls can't learn or that girls can't do something. Because you'll never know if you never try."

Clearly, More Work is Still Needed

We often like to think that humanity is much better off than it really is. We see a little bit of progress and believe that the problems of our past are all solved.

Yes, the number of women working in engineering in the United States has grown since the 80s. But it is still much lower than most would like. Currently, women account for only 14% of engineers.

And yes, more women are being exposed to diverse career fields, which is a fantastic development. But unfortunately, due to the way they are treated, 40% of women studying engineering end up leaving it for other fields. If Tyra hadn't had her father's support and tenacity, it would have been easy for her to give up or move to another industry.

So, it's up to everyone to keep promoting women in S.T.E.M. Days like Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day are specific reminders that we all need to do our part to encourage more diversity in engineering.

And it's proven to work. Studies show that when girls are given more information about engineering, the number of girls who say they'd like to enter the field doubles!

How to Get Involved

Hopefully, you feel encouraged to get involved with Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day. You can get involved in many ways, depending on your background and where you're at in life.

Parents Search around your Facebook feed or other parents at your kid's school to find women involved in engineering. Ask them if they'd have a chat with your daughter or let them shadow you at work for a day.

Young Girls Visit the Engineer Girl Website. They have helpful guides on what engineering involves, how to get started, advice from other female engineers, video guides, and more.

Female Engineers Take the time to sign up with various organizations to mentor, advise, or speak to groups of young women. Your talk might be the final push that builds a girl's momentum to a lifetime of S.T.E.M. work.

Additional resources to share:

Despite the Odds: Young Women Who Persist in Engineering

SheHeroes Video Profiles on Female Engineers

Guide for Planning a Girl Day

Society of Women Engineers