Girls in motion, technique and heart
What is in the mind of a student who has decided to undertake a technical or scientific career? What drives her to become an engineer, a computer, a nuclear physicist? Is it the same belief as that of a young man named Samantha, who one day would become an astronaut, or a Fabiola who would direct the CERN?
Ask the twenty girls chosen to participate in the Girls in Motion project, conceived by the Network of Presidents, of which Patrizia Grieco is a member. Top technical school students from all over Italy (including a couple of high schools) were given the unique opportunity of an eight-day travel across Italy - from Milan to Naples - to discover and experience first-hand the national technical excellence in places where it is carried out and where one day they might all hold a role of responsibility.
From the driver’s cab of the high-speed Frecciarossa 1000 train to the control room of the Italian railways, from an Eni offshore platform to the heart of Suviana Dam and of Enel's Bargi plant, where by chance the visit was guided by two female engineers.
A journey to narrate women's technical culture with texts, images and videos to share on the WIM - Women in Motion Facebook page and inspire other girls like them leading them to choose a Bachelor's Degree or a professional career in technical-scientific fields.
Well, ask these twenty girls what they have in mind, and you will be surprised. In fact, although the statistics say that girls account for less than 20 percent of Italian students enrolled in technical institutes or scientific faculties, that 60 percent of them perceive strong prejudices in the technical areas, and that more than half claim to have insufficient female reference models, the students of Girls in Motion have very clear ideas.
For example, eighteen-year-old Alice Gaggero from Genoa, who last year - still underage – was named Alfiere della Repubblica by President of Italy Sergio Mattarella for an article on subatomic particles, said: “I have always loved math, since I was a child.” “I feel a natural affinity, a sort of a gift, and I do not see why I should not develop it. I would like to become a researcher, perhaps at the CERN in Geneva or in the renewable energy sector. I am convinced that in these fields a woman can bring great added value: especially if she is a mother, therefore accustomed to simultaneously manage activities at home and work, having an innate organizational instinct.”
Or Ana Sanchez, a student at the ITIS Galvani in Milan, who has started an IT course. While she was visiting one of the Suviana Dam inspection tunnels, where one of the two women engineer explained how the tools used to monitor the parameters of the structure worked, she had what she defines a kind of enlightenment. “I thought that maybe the technicians could use a sensor system and obtain the surveys from a remote control station, in order to avoid going down the dam.”
Or Lisa Dragotto, an 18-year-old from Trieste with the ambition of landing on a shipyard's managerial work: “I would like to manage a team. Even one completely formed by men, why not. In a technical or scientific context, a woman can bring the human factor that is often lacking. She can bring the heart.”
A thought that reminds us of what Polish twice Nobel Prize winner Marie Curie said: “We must not believe that scientific progress can be reduced to mechanisms, machines, gear."