In Women's Month, UCT's Faculty of Engineering & the Built Environment hosted the second session of the Western Cape 'chapter' of GirlEng, launched in 2009 under the umbrella of WomEng Western Cape.
GirlEng's aim is to "ignite the engineering flame" among young women in grades 9 to 12 across the country. Some 200 high schoolers across the province attended the first session in May.
While the first info session exposed these learners to the world of engineering, the second session was more selective - only high-performing maths and science students from selected disadvantaged schools were invited.
GilrEng had identified these schools as having a high interest in engineering but in dire need of mentorship and guidance. Among them were LEAP Maths and Science School in Pinelands, Masibambasane High School in Delft, Al Muhaiman Orphanage in Kenwyn, and Spine Road High School in Mitchell's Plain.
The August one-day workshop exposed the young women to the world of engineering and its allied career options. It also included 'peripheral guidance', such as self-branding and mentoring, to instil confidence in the learners.
"We wanted to create a very interactive environment giving one-on-one access to engineering professionals acting as mentors," said organiser Shamiso Kumbirai, a master's student in civil engineering.
"These mentors were also able to give the learners a realistic perspective on the challenges faced by a female engineer in industry.
A tower building project was the grand finale of the session.
"The partnership between GirlEng and UCT continues to make leaps in breaking gender stereotypes in the engineering and built environment industry and promotes equal opportunities for learners, regardless of their socio-economic status or gender," said Kumbirai.
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