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Why “#ILookLikeAnEngineer” and “Fast-Forward Girls 2015” Should be on your Radar

When is the last time that you asked a woman what she did for a living and she responded by saying, “engineer?” You can’t remember?  That’s because, according to the Congressional Joint Economic Committee, only 14% of engineers are female.  As if being an engineer wasn’t difficult enough, this 14% also has to constantly deal with ridicule and gender stereotypes in addition to their already challenging careers.

This was an issue that Isis Wenger faced this past August, when her engineering company used her as the face of a new recruiting campaign.  The campaign was met with comments about how anyone with common sense would know that she didn’t actually work for the company, and how she was “too sexy” to be an engineer.  So Wenger created the #ILookLikeAnEngineer campaign, a social media hashtag to raise awareness that being a capable and proud engineer has nothing to do with your race or gender.

Inspired by this campaign, GoldieBlox, an online organization with the goal of inspiring more girls to pursue math and science based careers and interests, specifically engineering, created the “Fast-Forward Girls 2015” video, which quickly went viral this past week. This video, narrated by none other than our favorite Sophia Grace, shows young girls dressing up and imitating powerful female models who have broken gender stereotypes over the last year, such as Hillary Clinton, Amy Schumer and Abby Wambach to name a few. These girls then held up signs saying “#ILookLikeAComedian,” or “ILookLikeAWorldChampion.”

Because we are so impressionable at a young age, GoldieBlox realized the importance of marketing this campaign to young girls, claiming, “She can only be it if she can see it.”  The goal of this video is to celebrate the women who have broken gender molds this year, and to empower young girls to start dreaming of a future without barriers.

Growing up, I wanted to be an architect (another field that is male dominated, with only 16% female). I took my first architectural drafting class in the ninth grade, as one of the two girls enrolled (the other girl was enrolled because she was originally in a gym class but became injured. This was the only class with an open seat mid-semester). My teacher laughed when he saw me walk in, assuming that I was placed in his class on accident, and was astonished when I came back the second day. After a semester of working my butt off and impressing my male classmates, I decided to not continue to the next level, opting for a fashion class instead (which was also great, don’t get me wrong). Why? Because I was sick of having my male classmates ask me every day why I was in the class.

Gender stereotypes are a problem, and it’s causing driven and skilled women to opt for “girlier” jobs when they have the potential to be such an asset to a career field. That is why I absolutely love Isis Wenger’s “#ILookLikeAnEngineer” and GoldieBlox’s “Fast-Forward Girls 2015” campaigns…because they’re actually doing something to change the current and future generation’s perceptions about what women are capable of.

In the words of the awesome and inspiring Sophia Grace, “There is nothing we cannot accomplish as girls.”

Rachael is a senior public relations major at UNC–Chapel Hill. In addition to being the president/co-campus correspondent of Her Campus Chapel Hill, Rachael is also a member of Zeta Tau Alpha sorority and a mentor for EASE, a study abroad organization. She is an enthusiast of Snapchat, strong coffee, and "hardcore parkour" goat videos.
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