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Business

Girls Can Do Everything

More than 900 companies, universities and media institutions are opening their doors on Thursday – but just to girls. The project "Girls’ Day" is aimed at getting more young women interested in technical fields.

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Girls can handle a screwdriver just as well as boys can.

Whether it’s building robots, producing cartoons, measuring gas emissions or simply having a look at the daily routine of a fire station, Girls’ Day offers a wide range of possibilities.

On Thursday, girls from all over Germany between grades 5 and 10 can take off school and do a one-day traineeship at one of 900 participating companies, city halls, universities or media institutions. Ford, Siemens or Lufthansa are just some of the renowned concerns opening their doors for the day.

"With Girls’ Day, we want to promote new professions with a future, like in the IT-sector, specifically to girls," said Federal Education Minister Edelgard Bulmahn. The project want to kindle girls’ interest in career paths such as engineering, computer science or natural sciences.

According to Bulmahn, the action could nip in the bud prejudices about what girls can and cannot do.

The times need to change

According to the organizers, girls still choose professions or courses of study that are "typically female". They thus don’t exhaust their full career possibilities.

But there is a lack of qualified personnel in technical fields, in particular. And woman are under-represented in precisely this sector.

In Germany, only 390 000 of the 2.3 million people in technical professions are women. Yet they are the majority of high school graduates.

The new head of Germany's Federal Labor Office, Florian Gerster, stresses that Girls’ Day does not want to push girls into technical fields. "Rather, we want to advise them on their profession of choice so that they decide to follow an uncommon career track due to conviction and confidence," he said.

A good future for girls

Girls Day 2001

Girls Day 2001

The Federal Minister for Women and Youth, Dr Christine Bergmann, said Girls’ Day can show young women that they have good job perspectives for the future. "Education and a career are the nuts and bolts of a self-determined life," she said.

Also, today’s girls are "clever and self-confident". "Society can’t do without their skills and competence," she said.

Germany's Confederation of Trade Unions (DGB) feels it’s important that girls orient themselves before they hit the tough competition in the training and working fields. Women still had fewer professional chances than their male counterparts, said DGB’S deputy head, Dr Ursula Engelen-Kefer. "This has to change."

Girls’ Day, financed by the Federal Women’s Ministry and the Federal Education Ministry, is taking place for the second year in a row. More than 30 000 girls are expected to participate.

The idea for the initiative comes from the United States. Since 1993, the last Thursday of every April is "Take Our Daughters To Work Day". On this day, girls can visit the workplace of her parents, relatives or family friends instead of going to school.

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