Girls as Engineers

Title

Girls as Engineers

Name of the institution(s)

Perspektywy Education Foundation and the Conference of Rectors of Polish Technical Universities

Qualification level concerned

EQF 5

EQF 6

Country concerned

Poland

Theme(s)

Mission/Role of Professional Higher Education

Keywords

Access to PHE, social dimension, inclusion

Summary

Girls as Engineers is a national campaign initiated by the Perspektywy Education Foundation and the Conference of Rectors of Polish Technical Universities. The aim is to inspire girls to take up engineering in HE. Over the past 7 years the percentage of women in technical universities has increased by 6.1%. The campaign relies on volunteers who organise activities in technical universities just for girls. There is also a media campaign and training for staff.

The campaign’s target is to get through to every young girl in the country who is about to choose their studies programme. For now most of the women are choosing humanities, because they think that science is for men.

The campaign’s idea is broader – it is about women’s participation as such and widening access to the HE.

The main campaign’s objectives embrace:

·         Ending stereotypes that science is only for men and getting rid of the image of so called masculine and feminine majors.

·         Abolition of the division that humanities are for girls whereas sciences are for boys.

·         Getting women involved in development of science, creation of new technology, economic strategies.

·         Breaking the glass ceiling.

·         Empowering women in the long-term perspective.

·         Increasing women’s participation.

Each year 10 000 girls from high school are participating on the “National Open Day For Girls Only” which is organized in about 20 polish technical universities.

Lessons learnt

Over the past seven year the percentage of women in technical universities has increased by 6.1 percentage points (from 30.7% to 36,8%).

The Campaign still tries to influence the very technical programmes, where women’s involvement is still relatively poor (up to 19%).

There is also a low percentage of the academically involved women in technical sciences (PHD, professors).

The project was evaluated by investigating the technical universities population every year and comparing the results – quantitative indicators.

Each year after the Open Day organizers make evaluation of the event. Evaluation takes the form of the questionnaire, which is filled in by the participants of the event – girls form high schools.

Additional information

The idea has been initiated on the basis of the German event called “The Girls’ Day”. In 2007 together with the German coordinator the initiator of Polish campaign (Bianka Siwińska) first event was organised, also under the name “The Girls’ Day”. This has become the part of the bigger project which is Girls as Engineers. The idea of the project served multiple purposes. Firstly the goal was to convince more women that technical HE is also for them and not as it is commonly believed more suitable for men (changing the mind set within the society). Secondly, to convince the institutions that poor involvement of women constitutes a problem of accessibility and equality in HE system. Also a number of secondary schools got involved in the project and its events.

The budget of the project consists mainly of Polish technical universities funds. In addition, the organizers are trying to provide financial support from industry and charity institution (Polish and global). 20% of financial contribution (including staff costs) came from Perspektywy Education Foundation.

Volunteers are very important and necessary support of Campaign. 500 volunteers are involved in organizing the Open Day and other events in the campaign. Volunteers are mostly students of technical universities, as well as university staff and specialists in various fields – e.g. graphic designers, journalists. Most of the time of volunteers is used one week before and during the Open Day.

Website:

https://www.dziewczynynapolitechniki.pl

Contact details

Bianka Siwińska, PhD

Perspektywy Education Foundation

b.siwinska[at]perspektywy.pl

0048 22 628 58 62

+48 501 535 785

First collected by

IDEAS (Identifying Effective Approaches to Enhancing the Social Dimension) project, 2013-2015

 

Rating of GOOD practices
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