By: M. E. Ferreira
'Looking forwards to carriers week where Ms Hindley's sister will give us a talk, we wanted to go ahead and ask Ms Hindley a few questions about her sister's career as an engineer for Airbus, and have a chat about her opinion on the role of gender in careers in the STEM field.
Ms Hindley's current job is as a mathematics teacher, however, she was previously an "engineer buying and selling car parts". When she was asked what she thinks the current issues with girls in engineering are she responded by saying she believes "girls are underrepresented", she followed by saying this means that "young girls don’t generally see themselves going into the field of engineering". She believes this is because "they look up and often see men". Her main concern in our school about girls in mathematics is that "in the higher maths sets there are more boys than girls" and that "she can already see a trend appearing" that would suggest "we could do something to address gender in class". Even though she sees these issues in St Paul's School, she told us that she "went to an all-girls school" which means she "always grew up believing she could be anything she wanted to". She added on to this by saying she has had "quite an interesting education". However, she would say that in college her experience was different as she was "one out of three girls in a twelve-person class" on engineering. And even more shockingly, her sister who also went to college for engineering, was one out of "5% of girls in the entire class" along with "a lot of girls dropping out". We asked Ms Hindley if she faced these issues in her job today and she said that "no, luckily gender isn't an issue in teaching", but her sister on the other hand, who is an engineer, frequently must "answer to e-mails addressed to Mr or Sir" and has people "automatically assume she is a man".
She believes that to promote girls to want to work in the STEM field we should ''identify role models in that field" and "encourage girls to take higher level maths and feel successful in those subjects". She said that for her, she saw her " female teachers and " her "mom, who always worked super, super hard and made [her] feel like [she] could do anything she wanted.", and of course, her "sisters who do really cool jobs and in areas that not a lot of women work in". She believed that the current issue is "confidence to do a job you aren't expected to" and if we could change that "we would see a lot more women working in stem subjects". We asked her why she thinks girls would enjoy working in those areas which she responded to by saying "you get to apply theoretical knowledge and use it for problem solving" which is very "fulfilling and active" and "extremely enjoyable".
Ms Hindley did a great job at explaining what she thinks the issue is regarding girls in engineering and how she thinks we could improve. She gave us a few examples in her life as well as her sister's, and I am sure that her sister's Skype call with St Paul's pupils during Careers Week will inspire many of us to consider a career in engineering!