I remember when I was in middle school and I had just been transferred to the 8th grade Algebra I class (I was in 7th grade). I was so excited, but I remember someone telling me how boys were better than girls at math. I looked around at all the other students in the class and the ratio of boys to girls was just about equal. I was confused. Did being good at math mean that we girls were somehow more masculine? Did it mean that even though we were in the same class and getting the same grades meant that the boys were somehow still innately better at it than we were?
Hardly. And yet the stereotype still persists. There are so many girls out there who are gifted in the math and science areas, but because they are told that “boys are better” than them, they drop out. They move on.
I know that many women out there have stories like that. But hopefully, there will be fewer and fewer as the years progress. One program that is trying to make a difference is Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, as hosted by ExxonMobil. The goal of this program and others like it is to fill the gender gap and diminish the shortage of qualified workers in this and similar fields:
Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day Activities at ExxonMobil Emphasize Importance of Engineering to Nation’s Middle School Girls
Fourteen ExxonMobil Facilities Welcome Middle School Girls as ‘New Hires’
IRVING, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE1)–More than 3,000 middle school girls will be greeted as “New Hires” in the next week as they visit local ExxonMobil facilities and get a first-hand experience as an engineer. The event, taking place nationwide at ExxonMobil locations, is part of the company’s participation in Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day and National Engineers Week.
For the second year, the company also will host the ExxonMobil Girls in Engineering Festival in Houston where middle school girls from three Houston-area school districts will participate in a day-long event on Feb. 14.
Both activities are rewarding to middle school girls as ExxonMobil employees seek to persuade them that engineering is “cool” and opens doors of opportunity to them if they choose it as a career.
So I applaud all of you who have taken an interest in welding, an undoubtedly “masculine” field. I encourage you not only to persevere but to encourage any other girls or young women you meet with similar interests to invest in these talents, because in this and all similar fields, we need all the women we can get.