Welcoming future STEMinists

  • Girls from around the globe joined us (virtually) to explore careers in engineering as Collins hosted its 20th year of Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day.

Did you know? According to recent census data, women make up only 27% of the U.S. workforce in science, technology, engineering and math. And, in the workforce overall, only 15% are engineers. Only 20% of bachelor’s degrees in engineering are awarded to women (with only 6% to women of color). At Collins Aerospace, we’re hoping to change those statistics by helping girls develop an interest in STEM – and stay interested throughout their lives.

So, as we move out of Engineers Week into March and Women’s History Month, we’re sharing highlights from last week’s Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, or “Girl Day,” which took place February 25. It was the 20th year of our involvement with DiscoverE’s global event and, despite all the challenges of having to take activities online this year, it was a resounding success.

More than 3,000 girls and 830 employee volunteers participated in Collins-led events across 57 sites in 13 countries -- shirts with the Collins logo and the term “STEMinist” were in Zoom chats everywhere. And when asked before the program if they’d ever consider a career in engineering, 58% of the girls said they weren’t sure or not interested. After Girl Day, 81% of those same girls said they are more likely to consider it.

Girls learned about the innovation process and brainstormed new ideas in an online workshop hosted by Gitanjali Rao, Time Magazine’s first-ever Kid of the Year. They also had a chance to experience hands-on activities, check out demonstrations on products like the spacesuits, propeller systems and the ACES5 ejection seat, and meet inspiring female engineers from across Raytheon Technologies, including former NASA astronaut Joan Higginbotham, who now works as Collins’ director of space programs.

“Unsurprisingly, going into this event, our young female attendees rated themselves above average in skills like problem solving, math, and science,” said Adriana Johnson, who has coordinated IAGTE for Collins for the past eight years as part of our Corporate Social Responsibility team. “Educational outreach programs like Girl Day – and other CSR programs – help keep this confidence and STEM interest alive by sharing how our engineers at Collins and Raytheon Technologies are solving world problems right in these students’ back yards.”

For Collins, we’re also hoping events like this will help close the engineering gender gap, build a pipeline of future female leaders across the industry and further our commitment to gender parity and equity. Because no matter how transformative our technologies are today, our future depends on our ability to develop the next generation of innovators in aerospace.