[one_half padding=”0 20px 0 0″]There’s been lots going on here at WE as Christmas comes racing round the corner, I hope you guys have been enjoying the advent calendar as much as I! What great content my peers create and what brilliant people that have been featured, even if you don’t speak Swedish just have a look at the pictures to see what an engineer might look like!
As usual I’ve been watching the rallying development of Womengineer, impressed I’ve tried to add to that. Articles have been started, blog posts left unfinished, and topic after topic scratched. There’s always that nagging feeling that a blog post posted after an absence has to be good.
And then today I came across a little girl, or rather she came across me, that inspired me to let go and just get on with some writing. She reminded me of something Caitlin Moran said while being interviewed by Broadly (kickass all-girls youtube channel produced by Vice!), she stressed how anyone with a medium that people read or interact with have a chance, and have to take that chance, to spread awareness. And that’s exactly why I’m here at Womengineer…!
So, back to the girl. I travelled to my father after a few weeks of dashing around getting the last of coursework done, and even a week in England visiting my grandparents with mum. On the train three little girls kept peering at me from behind my chair, at first it was the little doggie Bibbi that sparked their curiosity. Then, it was the minimal texteditor with colourcoded lines of code that intrigued the older of the three; Astrid, 5 and 3/4 years old.
She climbed out of her chair and came round to face me.
– Hi, I’m Astrid. Nice to meet you.
Slightly baffled I shook her little hand and introduced myself. She grabbed her shoulders awkwardly and glanced at my screen, “it’s code” I explained. She wanted to know what it did. Luckily I was writing some HTML for an idea I’ve been thinking about, and html seems like an awfully lucky markup to be working with when little girls inserts themselves in ones work.
Having never really been around children I wasn’t sure how to interact with the girl, she didn’t seem to mind and climbed over me to perch next to Bibbi by the window.
Astrid ooed and aad at the simple webpage that slowly took form, “I think that should be bigger… or a nice colour… I can’t see it” she said at one point, squinting at something I’d explained was quite important. It struck me how she had immediatly got the hang of thinking out of the perspective of a user, my heart burst with pride for the little girl that I barely knew.
After a while Astrid asked why I was doing what I was doing. I tried to explain that I’d had an idea, and I realised that I wanted that idea, so I was making it. A bit like drawing she had mused. I agreed, maybe it was a bit like drawing.
Her mother woke up and immediately started faffing, apologising profusely before I could interject. Luckily, by then I had already showed Astrid Womengineer website and pointed at all the pictures of us engineers and engineer student, and even shown her some of the blogs. She wrote down the link with preciously meticulous handwriting. She didn’t dare glance at me as her mother laid out sandwiches on the little table, but I could see that her mind was racing.
When I told Astrid I was a Computer Engineer she said her dad was an engineer too. I wondered for a moment if she was going to ask something gender related, she looked so confused, but instead she settled for remarking on how young I looked.
The highlight of not just my day, but my week, was one of her questions.
– Can I be an engineer?
– Especially you kiddo.
I know she’ll be reading this, so lots of love to you kiddo and take care (I’m sure a grown up will translate for you).
Merry Christmas everyone,
Tina Britton Stenqvist · January 1, 2016 at 7:03 pm
Brilliantly written Evita, you completely brought the whole meeting & scenario to life. Astrid sounds very intelligent. I really do hope she becomes an engineer! Happy New Year to you and all your fellow women engineers.