Inspiring workshop changes the way girls think
Thirty Marsden Year 10 and 11 students took part in a ChangemakeHer workshop, sponsored by the University of Auckland Faculty of Engineering and delivered by GirlBoss NZ founder, Alexia Hilbertidou. The GirlBoss workshop is aimed at inspiring a love for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) and showcases how young women can live a life of passion and purpose with these skills.
Alexia’s passion for STEM led her to create GirlBoss when she was just 16 years old. Less than two years later GirlBoss has become an 8000 strong network for ambitious, young New Zealand women.
GirlBoss encourages young women to dream big and consider fields in which they are under-represented such as STEM, business and governance - areas in which they can create large scale change which benefits us all.
I absolutely loved going to the GirlBoss ChangemakeHer workshop yesterday! I, and many of the girls that went, thought that STEM was pretty much just engineering, which didn't really appeal to me that much. But after hearing about all of the things STEM could lead me to do, I feel really inspired and informed and we are now all very open to the idea of a career in STEM.
Lucy Dobson, Year 11 2018
One of the questions they discussed was why women are under-represented in STEM subjects and ultimately Boardrooms around the world. Our girls came up with the following:
- Male dominated environments are hostile toward women.
- Women need the opportunity to do "boy's subjects".
- Early childhood gender stereotyping in play.
- Geeks make tech uncool so all reference to geek needs to be gone from society. They need to see REAL people doing these jobs.
- Maths is a subject that is looked down upon. (Females rate themselves 27% worse at maths than men - this was from Alexia)
Many female-dominated jobs will not exist in the future, so this workshop encouraged girls to have the courage and confidence to branch towards STEM jobs, which are mostly male-dominated jobs. I learnt that there are fewer women CEOs than men CEOs named David or John. This stuck with me because I was so surprised.
Linda Zhang, Year 11 2018
From the feedback we received after the workshop it is clear that Alexia and GirlBoss inspired and helped spark a genuine interest in the way our girls look at STEM subjects and that's a great result! Araraina in Year 10 had this to say:
It was very interesting to see the numbers of how many women are actually in our local businesses! It is crazy to think how we prize our selves on being such a great country (and we are) then seeing that on a similar scale we are just as bad. It has definitely made me more aware of NZ companies today. I think Alexia is an amazing speaker and was relatable to the group of youth. I liked the way she included her upbringing and her school experience, I also liked how she explained the jobs that were predicted to be gone in a decade, this really helped me to understand what subjects I will need to study.
When we talked about STEAM careers at first I wasn't too sure but since attending Girlboss I may pursue a career in that direction. I have always been interested in those subjects but unsure if I was 'smart' enough or if I really want to go in that direction. Because I am only 14 I have a broad spectrum of jobs to consider, STEAM has definitely moved up along the charts. It was an amazing course and I hope to attend many more at Marsden.
Marsden is committed to encouraging our girls into STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Maths) subjects and equipping them with the 21st Century skills they need. For our students to hear it from someone not much older than them carries such authenticity, it obviously resonated and made them think!
Thank you Alexia and GirlBoss.