Campaign for more female engineers launches in the U.K.

Washington State Department of Transportation Bridge Engineers Jim Harding, left, and James Dorgan inspect columns and exterior girders on the Alaskan Way Viaduct during its semi-annual inspection October 24, 2009 in downtown Seattle, Washington.

Steve Chiotakis: The U.K. has the lowest proportion of female engineers in Europe. The engineering industry there is worried the imbalance is
affecting their competitiveness. So industry bosses are teaming up with schools across the U.K. today to launch a campaign encouraging more young women to go into engineering.

From London, here's the BBC's Kate McGough.


Kate McGough: The campaign is called "Talent 2030" and it wants little girls in the U.K. to dream a little less about a career in the spotlight, and a little more about a career building spotlights. Or bridges. Or spaceships.

Jane Wernick is a structural engineer who worked on London's iconic observational wheel the London Eye. She's a supporter of the campaign and says half the problem is that girls have too narrow an idea of what an engineer actually does.

Jane Wernick: They think that the person who mends your washing machine is an engineer or they think about hard hats and grease and mud, and they don't realize that actually it touches every aspect of our physical world.

The campaign will be working with schools to encourage girls to choose subjects like physics and math. And to get young girls to think of a job in engineering as creative and collaborative.

2030 is the year when girls born today will be heading to college, so "Talent 2030" is hoping by then there will be a thriving engineering sector for today's baby girls to step into.

In London, I'm the BBC's Kate McGough for Marketplace.

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