GirlsDay 2016 - Continuing to break stereotypes
Since 2006, an International event coordinated in the Netherlands by the VHTO* has, through several organisations, offered young girls a taste of what technology is about. This event, culminating in a special ‘Girlsday’, took place on Thursday 14 April. Groups of girls aged 14 and 15 years old participated in fun activities that allowed them to get acquainted with technology and ICT.
There still exists a stereotypic view that boys are more ‘technical’ than girls, and in an attempt to break this mould, events like this one are designed to place a special focus on girls. To this end, ESA’s European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) played host to 33 young girls and their teachers, from the Ichthus Lyceum in Driehuis. With the impressive backdrop of the Erasmus Visitor Centre, the ESA Education and Communication Offices put together a programme for the girls. They had the opportunity to try out coding using Lego Mindstorm robots, and learn about how ESA uses robotic technology in space. Some useful tips about careers came from the experiences of a young engineer working in ESA’s Education Office who explained how she became involved with exciting projects such as the CubeSats.
As a special and unexpected surprise, the girls were able to listen in and watch a live inflight call with ESA astronaut Tim Peake. Tim was connected from the International Space station with 3 European countries - Norway, UK, and Poland - from which teachers asked him career-related questions. This was an exciting Girlsday conclusion for this lucky group of young women!
* Landelijk Expertisebureau meisjes/vrouwen en Beta/Techniek (National Expertise Bureau girls/women in STEM)