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Mentorship is Key to Promote Women in Technology

Businesswoman rolls her eyes at the gender gap on display at in her workplace.

Women fulfill only 17 percent of technical jobs in the UK.

Let that sink in.

“It gets worse,” said Natalie Lipke, co-founder of ANSYS’ UK Women in Technology (WiT) group. “A local WiT job site reports that campuses still have large gender gaps in their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) classrooms — as low as 7 percent of students in computer science are women.”

“Additionally,” she added, “the women receiving STEM degrees only have a 50-50 chance to land a job in their area of study.”

Industry needs to do a better job of closing the gender gap. For a start, they must ensure young women that a viable career awaits them at the end of their studies.

ANSYS’ UK WiT group showed that one of the best methods to build this trust is through mentorships that empower young women.

How Mentorship Can Help Get More Women in STEM

ANSYS’ UK WiT group is determined to boost the number of women in STEM by mentoring female students.

Recently, Adam Preece, another co-founder of ANSYS’ WiT UK group, hosted students from King Alfred’s Academy, a local school, as part of the Women in Technology initiative.

During the event, female students were treated to a “Problem-solving in Engineering” seminar, which included hands-on training in the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software ANSYS CFX.

CFX is not for lightweights. It is a simulation tool used by professional engineers to design pumps, fans, compressors, turbines and many other types of industrial equipment. The students learned the basics of how to use this valuable tool. They also learned about strategies and career options that could empower them to become tomorrow’s leaders in tech.

“This was a truly memorable experience for our girls,” said Sue Cronin, careers and work experience manager at King Alfred’s Academy. Cronin noted how the girls’ interest grew as they began asking questions about engineering topics to which they had just been introduced.

Industry Needs to Network with Young Women to Fill the Gender Gap

While teaching STEM tools like CFX is a good first step to introduce more young women to technology, it’s just one of many steps along the path. A continual hands-on approach is needed so the students can experience many of the different types of engineering and the jobs available within each category.

To address this, ANSYS’ UK WiT group held a networking session for their guests. The students were encouraged to meet people working in the STEM field, ask questions and discuss their hopes and dreams. The young women made connections that could one day open doors to STEM careers.

Thanks to ANSYS’ UK WiT group, a class of young women now see more of the opportunities available in today’s engineering industry. All it takes is introducing people to career paths they may not know exist and helping them to explore options of interest.

Mentoring youth is one way to help close the gender gap in STEM fields. ANSYS’ WiT groups worldwide are doing their part to help young women find their place in the world of engineering.

To learn about career opportunities within ANSYS, check out this link.