UTMESA+MESA+ InstituteNewsInspiration for girls during Girls' Day: focus on science and technology
Annabel Jeuring

Inspiration for girls during Girls' Day: focus on science and technology

On 18 April 2024, Girls' Day took place at the University of Twente. A total of 120 girls from different schools in Overijssel participated in this inspiring day.

Together with UT's Strategic Business Development (SBD) department, Pre-U organised a varied STEM-oriented day programme for girls in 1 & 2 vwo on Thursday 18 April. The day started with an inspiring session on diversity and inclusion. This was followed by several workshops on, for example, how Google Maps works and creating your own micro lab. In the afternoon, several interactive lectures were scheduled with topics such as quantum technology, energy transition in residential areas, the intriguing world of (liquid) foods and the applications of optical signals such as in fibre optic networks for the internet. The girls ended the day with tours of various UT laboratories where they could participate in various experiments. In short: an inspiring day where the students had the opportunity to gain practical experience within different fields of study.

The reason to organise Girls' Day is that a considerable amount of female STEM and ICT talent remains unutilised, often because girls are unfamiliar with these professions and courses. During Girls' Day, organisations throughout the Netherlands opened their doors to girls aged 10 to 15 years old, offering them low-threshold opportunities to learn about engineering and IT, meet female employees and learn what organisations in these sectors have to offer.

Girls encounter all kinds of hurdles on their path to a job in construction, infra, engineering or IT. These hurdles include stereotypical toys, controlling expectations and too few female role models. According to VHTO, expertise centre For Her Technical Development (Voor Haar Technische Ontwikkeling), this is why girls are still much less likely than boys to continue studying or working in those sectors. This is a pity, because they are promising sectors with a lot of job security and professional opportunities.

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Girls' Day is an initiative of VHTO, expertise centre For Her Technical Development (Voor Haar Technische Ontwikkeling). VHTO links schools and companies and annually draws attention to the need to remove the hurdles girls face.

Through a wide range of challenging programmes with a strong scientific and academic basis, the University of Twente's Pre-U programme gives pupils from 1 to 6 vwo the opportunity to get acquainted with academic education at a young age. This can contribute to a well-argued profile and/or study choice and helps pupils discover and develop their talents.

J.V. van der Tuin (Jody)
Project Leader Marketing & Communication Pre-University