Being an engirlneer is not about getting a degree in engineering or becoming a professional engineer. It is about identifying a problem and coming up with a solution.
A girl in any profession is capable of being an engirlneer.
Problems exist in every line of work, and girls bring creative and innovative viewpoints that are desperately needed.
Never be afraid to state there is a problem or present a solution. Sometimes, the best solution is an answer to a problem we didn’t even know we had.
I’ve been asked countless times by parents and educators what they can do to help girls become engineers. Instead of focusing on the necessary academic requirements of being an engineer, the important thing is to teach them to become engirlneers. If they’re truly interested in engineering, they’ll find their way to engineering on their own.
So, what should your girl do at home to become an engirlneer? And how can you help engage your daughter to become an engirlneer?
- Encourage her to solve problems at home. If she asks you a question, encourage her to find the answer on her own. The internet makes it easy to quickly search for a solution. And it’s not just for students. Professionals in every line of work use it to find answers, and to determine how others have solved a problem.
- Buy your daughter a notebook and have her use it solely for writing down questions during the day. If she sees something she wants to know more about, have her write it down; then go home and look it up together. If she comes across something in a book or article that she wants to learn more about, encourage her to explore it. Once her curiosity is piqued, she’ll have a hunger for knowledge. Do something every day that will help your daughter be inquisitive and ask, “Why?”
- Ask your engirlneer questions. If you’re having trouble thinking of where to start, here are some suggestions:
- Why do you think that bridge has so many triangles in it?
- Why do you think birds fly in a V?
- What if I made these cookies with baking powder instead of baking soda?
Then have her research the answers on her own. Even have her experiment if possible. For the last question, you could make cookies at home and switch out baking powder for baking soda. Then she could research what the difference is between baking powder and baking soda. The ability to experiment and trial and error is an important skill for all people, not only scientists and engineers.
- Encourage her to do puzzles and read. Puzzles will help her learn to solve problems; reading will teach her how to communicate and express her thoughts. Encourage her to watch documentaries on TV. If you can’t talk her into that, at least require she watch shows that contain an educational component. Let her choose her own passion. Not all engirlneers will want to be engineers, and that is okay! Imagine if there were no artists, chefs, documentarians, authors, teachers … the list goes on and on. Let your engirlneer find what she is interested in. From books to TV shows, whether it’s about animals or history, if she is interested in it, she will be more likely to pay attention.
- Let her help you with activities at home. If you’re building something and she could harm herself using your tools, let her hand you the parts. Even if she is too young to help, explain to your engirlneer what you are doing.
Encourage your engirlneer to participate in extracurricular activities. It doesn’t matter what activity she chooses, because they will all help her learn skills that will be invaluable to her as she grows up. There have been numerous times in my career where I wished my coworkers knew how to work as a team or coordinate with others. Again, and this is SO, SO important, let her choose what activity she wants to participate in. She’ll have more fun and be more successful at whatever activity she chooses if she is ACTUALLY THE ONE CHOOSING IT!
What if your daughter wants to become an engineer? Learn what she can do in school here.
For additional tips on how to encourage young women in your life to become an
engirlneer, check out these posts below.