Doing experiments and talking with professors: For 34 group-8 girls from Almere and Utrecht, 14 April was anything but a standard school day. The girls visited the Faculty of Science as part of the Girlsday event, an initiative by VHTO to introduce young girls to the exact sciences, technology and ICT. In total, more than 10,000 girls from all over the Netherlands visited one of more than 300 companies in the fields of science, technology and ICT.
After a word of welcome, it was time for lunch, where the girls sat at a table with eight female researchers - from doctoral candidates to professors and from every department at the faculty. In the afternoon, the girls split into two groups to visit the Department of Information and Computer Science Motion Capture Lab and the Chemistry labs in the Koningsberger building.
In the Motion Capture Lab, two volunteers suited up to be transformed into a three-dimensional skeleton on a computer screen. In the Chemistry lab, the girls conducted experiments under the supervision of Chemistry students, including making a volcano out of dish soap, vinegar and baking powder. “The experiments were the most fun”, according to the girls.
In comparison with other countries, an exceptionally low number of girls in the Netherlands choose study programmes and professions in science, technology or ICT. But the percentage of female students and researchers in the exact sciences is increasing at Utrecht University. The Faculty of Science recognises the importance of a diverse organisation staff, and has therefore drawn up a faculty diversity policy.