Girls go for science

Monday 11 Oct 21
by Nasrin Billie


Andreas Ussingø
+45 45 25 78 07

Girls' Day in Science

  • Girls’ Day in Science is an annual event arranged in collaboration with Naturvidenskabernes Hus.
  • Last year the event was canceled due to the Corona-crisis.
  • Read more here 

Girls’ Day in Science introduces high school girls to technological subjects in a practical way with the aim of getting more of them to choose a technical education.

More than two hundred high school girls took part in Girls' Day in Science at DTU on October 6th, which featured a banging and smoking entertainment as well as interaction with female role models and workshops covering everything from space research, green energy and chemistry to the importance of social sustainability in the development of new technology.  

All to arouse the young women's interest in STEM educations (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and to expose them to the exciting possibilities that a future within technology and science holds. 


Today's program starts with DTU Science Show, where two female students perform scientific experiments, which includes homemade rocket engines and smelly gas balloons. This is followed by a roundtable conversation in which four DTU students share their own experiences and prejudices that they had before starting their studies.

After the introduction, the participants are divided into different DTU institutes, where they spend four hours diving into the world of technology with a focus on people, sustainability and innovation. 


Inspirational role models
During the round table conversation, the moderator Jonas Rygaard asks the participating high school girls to guess the percentage of women among DTU-students. The majority of the girls come up with the right answer: One in three students are women.

Research indicates that the reason for girls' non-participation is partly due to the lack of female role models and partly because of prejudices about STEM education being exclusively male subjects with a student life characterized by LAN parties. These prejudices are put to shame by Freja, Linda, Mia and Malte, the four DTU-student in the round table conversation.

Freja, who has a Bachelor's degree in Life Science and Technology and is working on understanding the future of virus outbreaks, tells about her mother-in-law, who studied engineering at DTU. This fact alone was enough for her to choose to study a technical education, because she was able to mirror herself in her mother-in-law. Today, Freja is the co-founder of the association Feministisk Forum, which works to strengthen gender equality among students.

Neha, who studies Electrical Engineering, says that DTU has several communities, that function as spaces where female students can meet, support each other and have fun together.  

"I have a passion for robots and it is an interest, that I diligently cultivate today. But I wish I had been introduced to it at a young age. Just imagine what it could have amounted to by now," Neha says and laughs. 


Neha runs an Instagram profile called Nordic Women in STEM that addresses girls aged 13 to 19 and teaches them about coding in a fun and practical way.


Ready for a future as an engineer

At the workshop, Technology for All People, held at DTU Skylab, DTU’s Center for Innovation, we meet Amanda and Mie, who are both seniors at HTX in Hillerød. They stress that they are very clear about their future choice of education.


“I would like to apply for a bachelor of engineering, because I am practical girl. I like to use my hands, and I have heard that DTU’s campus in Ballerup would be better suited for me,” says Mie.


Asked about whether the girls would describe themselves as geeks, the answer comes promptly.


“Yes, we are geeks. When you study math and physics in a purely boys' class like we do, then you are a geek. But being a geek is not bad. It just means that you have a great interest in school, doing homework and attending classes. We think it is exciting to learn new subjects," Amanda states.
She's not yet sure which bachelor's degree is best suited, but she has no doubt she will pursue engineering in the future.

Innovation that makes a difference
Technology for All People is the only workshop where DTU students are invited as well as high school girls to solve a specific challenge posed by the company Pressalit, which produces flexible bathroom solutions. The approximately 70 participants are tasked with developing a product that can help female wheelchair users to pee anytime, anywhere.

Helga Mark, who is born with a disability that makes her unable to use her feet and thereby dependent of a wheelchair, helps the groups find solutions that allow disabled women to urinate, when they are on the go. 

“It is so inspiring to listen to the young people's many ideas. They are so invested in solving the task, and I really hope that they will continue working on it, because there is a great need for great minds who can devise new products and solutions that can help make life easier for those of us, who are challenged on a daily basis,” says Helga Mark.


Anne-Mette Thygesen works as an industrial designer at Pressalit. She regards the girls' gender as a strength in today's challenge.


“Men typically put their efforts into men’s issues. They typically have the technical know-how, but men need women to spar with in the development of new solutions, because women can contribute with a different technological perspective," says Anne-Mette Thygesen. She hopes to continue working with students, who are interested in further developing their ideas in collaboration with Pressalit. 

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