Super daughters take flight in STEM

MORE than 150 people attended WORK180’s SuperDaughter Day event in Hobart, with primary school aged girls learning about vital STEM skills for the future.

SuperDaughter Day was established in 2016 to get girls aged from five to 12 excited in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) through fun and engaging activities.

“Gender stereotypes are formed as young as five and girls may think STEM is mostly for boys, so it’s crucial that we do something before then so by the time they reach high school they’re still interested in these roles,” WORK180 co-founder and chief executive officer Valeria Ignatieva said.

Over four years, the event has grown from 120 people in Brisbane to include 3000 girls and parents spanning across Australia and other parts of the world.

The program consists of girls participating in a series of workshops with their parents where they dress up as superheroes, play with robotics and build bridges among many other interactive science and technology-related experiences.

Ms Ignatieva said there had been a positive result to the program, with 94 per cent of parents saying their daughters had an increased interest in STEM after the SuperDaughter Day.

“It’s encouraging them to ask questions in a safe environment and to put their hand up for STEM subjects at school, and we’re really seeing a massive difference,” she said.

“The little girls are coming back year after year, and they say things like, this is the best event I’ve ever been to, and, I can’t wait to bring my sister along.”

Ms Ignatieva said it was important for parents to get involved in the event, as it would encourage their daughter’s participation in STEM activities.

“We need parents to play a big part so they can rally the schools to provide more STEM activities and keep up their interest throughout the later years,” she said.

Eleven-year-old Layla Lukianenko was one of the participants at SuperDaughter Day in Hobart and said she was excited to attend the event next year.

“I love science because I want to be a veterinarian, and you need to understand science for that,” she said.

“I learnt how to make a piano with bananas – it was so funny how electricity was running through the banana so we could play notes.”

Layla’s father and LiveTiles product marketing manager Chris Lukianenko said SuperDaughter Day opened up a number of pathways for young girls.

“Anything that can help our daughters learn a new range of skills is great, and especially in the STEM space because sometimes girls don’t get the opportunities boys get,” he said.

“It’s really great to see that girls are being given as shot and they can learn about the fantastic world of STEM.”

Caption: Participants at the 2019 Hobart SuperDaughter Day learnt vital STEM skills for the future through various fun and exciting activities.

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