Engineers for a day (Engenheiras por 1 dia) - Portugal
The aim of the Portuguese initiative 'Engenheiras Por Um Dia', (english: 'Engineers for a day') is to promote engineering and technology subjects amongst students in primary and secondary education and simultaneously deconstruct the idea that these subjects are predominantly male domains. Another goal of the initiative is to increase the number of girls and women going into ICT subjects and reduce inequality.
'Engineers for a day' piloted in 2017 to address the low participation of women in ICT in Portugal, as initiative of the Secretary of the State for Citizenship
and Equality of the Portuguese Government. The programme is coordinated by the Commission for Citizenship and Gender Equality (CIG) and INCoDe.2030, in conjunction with the Portuguese Association for Diversity and Inclusion (APPDI), theInstituto Superior Técnico and the Order of Engineers and involves a network of 86 partner entities (11 of which municipalities), 52 primary and secondary schools and 19 higher education institutions.
'Engineers for a day' offers a variety of activities that schools can take part in throughout the school year in Portugal. These include tailored engineering challenges, study visits to technological companies and universities specialising in ICT, bringing in a mentor from the public or private sector, and many technology and engineering workshops.
The project is currently in its 5th edition (academic year 2021 - 2022) and counts more than 150 partners from schools, companies, municipalities, and higher education institutions. Since its kick-off, 'Engineers for a day' has engaged more than 12.000 students in primary and secondary education through mentoring and roleplay activities and practical and laboratory challenges.
Why is this a good practice?
Since its start in 2017, 'Engineers for a Day' has reached 10,411 young people in primary and secondary education, and has organised more than 460 activities. In 2021, 10 pilot schools from all over Portugal got the chance to have engineers as role models and learn from them via mentoring activities.
The programme has grown: and due to its size and success, it has been included in key strategic documents of the Portuguese government as an initiative impacting indicators of digital inclusion for women. 'Engineers For A Day' is integrated in the National Strategy for Equality and Non-Discrimination - Portugal More Equal and in the Action Plan for the Digital Transition, in conjunction with the National Digital Skills Initiative INCoDe.2030 Program, and involves a network of 86 partner entities (11 of which municipalities), 52 primary and secondary schools and 19 higher education institutions.
'Engineers for a Day' scores high in sustainability: it is also funded via the Portuguese Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP), which foresees investment to increase the number of women with digital skills and tackle the gender disparity, present in the ICT sector. Programmes, which complement 'Engineers for a Day', funded under the plan include the Impulso Jovens STEAM program, the expansion of the Ciência Viva na Escola Club Network, Academia Portugal Digital and Emprego + Digital 2025, and others.