The Techniekclub (Technology Club) program at Technopolis, the Flemish Science Centre, aims to introduce girls ages 10–12 to both engineering and technical careers, and contributes to Technopolis’ goals of bringing science and technology to the people and focusing on difficult-to-reach target groups.
No Boys Allowed
Every Technology Club consists of nine weekly sessions held at both Technopolis and other locations throughout Flanders. In each session, participants use their own ideas to make a technical piece of work, such as a clock, piggy bank, or necklace, while learning increasingly difficult techniques. The program provides girls with the opportunity to develop technical and engineering skills with the guidance of a female professional who can serve as a role model.
The participants use real tools and materials—electrical saws, drills, files, and pincers, and wood, metal, Plexiglas, screws, and nails—and they learn the correct techniques to handle them effectively and safely. One participant said, “I don’t brag about it, but still it is nice to say: I made this.”
The final session of each Technology Club is very special: the girls bring their mothers. Frequently, it is the first time the mothers do something technical. The mothers are always astonished by their daughter’s skills. One mother told us, “Our daughter now wants to do something with engineering in the future, she is now interested in technical professions.”
After their experience in the program, the girls continue to do engineering at home by helping to fix things. And even if they don’t choose a technical education, their new-found skills and knowledge contribute to future renovation or building projects. Since its inception in 2006, more than 500 girls have participated in Technology Clubs.
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