Exploring engineering

23 June is International Women in Engineering Day - check out these activities for getting girls to explore engineering

23 June 2021

23 June 2021 marks the 8th year celebrating International Women in Engineering Day!

This day is about raising the profile of women in engineering and highlighting the career opportunities available to women and girls within this industry. We love to celebrate this day, especially as in the past STEM (science, technology, engineering & maths) industries have been largely male-dominated. And from our own research we know that nearly half of girls aged 11-21 want to see more representation of women in science and technology.

But how can we explain and engage our young members in engineering? Emma, Squadron Leader, from the Royal Air Force's Youth and STEM team says:

“Engineering is a problem-solving activity. An engineer is a person who likes to know how and why things work - they design and build things to solve specific problems. You can explain to girls that things like bridges, the microwave or planes are all solutions to very specific problems. And the best thing about engineering is that it’s all about trial and error – so it’s a space where it’s totally okay to make mistakes, as we learn from them.”

Our friends at the Royal Air Force (RAF) are keen to breach the barrier between girls and STEM. They’ve supported Girlguiding for over two years by sharing their expert knowledge, to empower girls and young women to develop life skills in STEM subjects through activities and experiences.

The RAF encourages their engineers and technicians to reach for the skies in all that they do, so why not encourage your girls this International Women in Engineering Day to give these problem-solving activities a go?

Rainbows - Under the sea

This 20-minute-long activity created in collaboration with the RAF can be found in unit meeting activity pack 8. It'll get girls making a submarine and using their problem-solving skills to figure out which materials are waterproof.

Brownies - Lift yourself up

Get Brownies working as a team and thinking about how lifts go up and down and build their own to find out how they work, with this 45-minute-long activity created in collaboration with the RAF. You'll find this in pack 8 of Brownie unit meeting activities.

Guides - Bionic body parts

Get your Guides testing their engineering skills and explore how robotics can mimic human actions with this 60-minute-long activity which will have them building their own bionic hand to pat their back with! You can find it in unit meeting activity pack 6 and take a look at our how to video!

Rangers - Repeat to complete

This 30-minute-long activity, found in unit meeting activity pack 7, will help Rangers test their patience and problem-solving skills whilst learning how a quantum computer solves problems.

Whether your unit is returning to your usual venue, or you’re running unit meetings online, we have a number of tips on how to adapt the programme to continue to bring the fun and adventure to girls – no matter how you’re meeting.

Find more information, resources and support from the RAF about STEM on their YouthSTEM site.