Chalmers wants to get more young people interested in technical education, and to increase their understanding of the kind of career opportunities that exist with a degree in engineering. It is clear that Chalmers should take part in the IGEday initiative, but this year, due to the ongoing outbreak of the Coronavirus, it is not possible to invite students to campus-based activities. The plan was to let approximately seventy students aged 13–19 visit Chalmers during the day and for the Chalmers Women's Association to host an inaugural speech. Now they will aim to inspire young people through the Chalmers Instagram account instead!
Hello there, Hanna Svensson, founder and chairwoman of Chalmers Women's Association. What is IGEday?
The theme day IGEday in Sweden was originally an initiative from female engineers and engineering students through the Womengineer Foundation. They want to increase interest in technology among young girls and non-binary people, aged 13-19. Companies, organisations and universities around Sweden participate in the day to show some examples of what working as an engineer can be like.
What is the Chalmers Women's Association (CWA)?
The Chalmers Women's Association (CWA), is a non-profit association for female and non-binary Chalmers students and alumni. We started partly because we wanted to create a network for female students at Chalmers and partly because we want to push the work on equality forward. We want to show that it is obvious that everyone, regardless of gender, should have the same opportunities both during and after their studies. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. There are many prejudices that hold women back in the tech industry and we want to change that!
Why do you get involved in IGEday?
More women and non-binary people are needed in the field of tech! Through our participation in IGEday at Chalmers, we hope that we can inspire young girls and non-binary people and broaden the view of what it means to be an engineer and what opportunities and careers the technical sector can offer!
Why do you think girls are underrepresented at many technical educational programmes today?
I believe that many young people today, faced with choosing an education and profession, look to a large extent at the existing gender balance, and that they are formed by the traditions, prejudices and expectations that exists in society. If you are not sure what you want to do in the future, I think you are looking for role models and people you can relate to. Since there are not so many women in the tech industry, it can be difficult to find role models, and instead you choose the programme where you think you might find other like-minded women, instead of focusing on what you are really interested in yourself.
Why is it important to introduce more women to the tech world and to engineering professions?
It is important that everyone gets the same opportunity and conditions in their choice of education! By trying to introduce more women to the tech world, more people can find role models and inspiration for upcoming educational and professional choices.
In addition, I think that increased equality in the technology industry is a matter of democracy! The digitisation and electrification of society affects everyone, and to be able to create safe and well-suited technologies for all people, diversity in the groups and companies developing them is required!
Why did you apply to Chalmers and the engineering profession yourself?
I always wanted to study engineering because I am a creative person, I have always liked math and I want to work together with other people! I applied to Chalmers because I liked the close collaboration that exists with the world of industry and research. It inspires and motivates me a lot in my studies, and it is cool to be able to see and to contribute to solutions to real problems during your studies.
I’m a third-year student on the mechanical engineering programme and am very happy about that. I chose mechanical engineering because I thought it offered a good combination of basic engineering skills, such as math and physics, but also a deeper understanding of organisation and production.
What do you want to do in your future career?
I want to work in the industry and develop tomorrow's digital solutions to increase efficiency, quality, sustainability and create new business models. In addition, there are so many cool technologies like AI, VR, digital twins and autonomous robots and this is something I would love to learn more about. There are a lot of fun and exciting things going on in the tech industry right now and digitalisation will fundamentally change the industry. Being part of that shift is very exciting!
Tell us more about your live broadcast on Instagram!
We will go live on the account @chalmers.university
at 13.00 on Friday 3 April. There will be opportunities to ask questions. We will give tips on how to become an efficient problem solver, and there will also be a problem-solving competition during the day. We hope to inspire others, to help broaden the view of what an engineer does and to smash some prejudices about girls in tech!