Bringing robotics and engineering closer to girls

Bringing robotics and engineering closer to girls
14th January 2020 Maja Hadziselimovic
In Mechatronics

Maja holds a Master of Mechatronics from the University of Novi Sad. Currently, she is working at MRK Systeme GmbH as a robotics software developer, working on developing human robot applications for the automotive industry, and at German Bionic Systems on developing the first industrial exoskeleton in Augsburg, Germany.

“I’m studying mechatronics if you have ever heard about it”, he said while trying to spell the word ‘mechatronics’ as slowly as possible. “Hm, let me check. Well, I did my master studies in a similar field, something called mechatronics and robotics, ever heard of?”, I answered while trying to stay calm and relaxed. Is it my red lipstick, my blonde hair, high heels, or my gender that makes me not a suitable candidate for a discussion that includes topics like mechatronics, robotics, exoskeletons, electronics?

Since my childhood, I share my two passions for work with children in education and dreaming about programming robots, and later I’ve always tried to combine these two. Through my entire education, which included three universities in three different countries, I have thought of how STEM subjects are something not so popular and exciting among girls, as I was always in the minority (sometimes even the only girl in a group).After organizing several STEM workshops for girls, I have realized how wrong I was. It is not that they are not interested; they are not familiar with it.

As I strongly believe that technology should be developed for everyone and should include as many different opinions and approaches as possible, I started cooperating with a few NGOs across Europe on gender equity and ICT educations for women. Women are avid users of a nowadays technology but are still in the minority included in their creation. Bringing robotics and engineering closer to girls, motivating them, and empowering them to start their careers in STEM has been and still is one of my great passions and drive. I find that including more girls and women in ICT is a significant step forward, making this world a better place, and it fits perfectly with UN Sustainable Developments Goals / Agenda 2030, particularly with Goals 4 and 5.

“Leading by example” was always my mantra, and I enjoy seeing how, sometimes, a random story from work can serve as a great inspiration for girls. They come from: “Nah, it is just for boys. Not for girls” to “Yes, I definitely want to do it” in just a few hours. Once you experience this moment, it becomes so bright how each one of us holds a high power together with the reasonability in our hands.

Maybe alone, we can do so little, but together we can do so much!
That is why this conference is an excellent example of it. It is a perfect chance for creating a community eager to make some significant changes in travel, engineering, tourism, and other areas for all women.

This world needs diversity if we want it to succeed. Our society needs solutions and ideas created with a different point of view. Our future depends on us empowering young girls, motivating young leaders, and supporting women on their path to success. It is on us to bring diversity in every area of life.

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