Challenging gender stereotypes in the classroom

Volunteering - 19 6 月 2023

Two engineers from our plant in Vado Ligure, Italy, recently volunteered for an educational activity in a primary school to help challenge gender stereotypes in the working environment.

By supporting the learning on gender biases, we aim to help more girls understand that a career in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) is possible. This is part of our sustainability approach, as we strive both to inspire young people into a career in STEM and to help more women have successful and gratifying careers.

Giulia Casale, Maintenance Engineer (pictured above), and Sara Montaldo, Production Planning Leader (pictured below), visited a primary school in the neighbouring town of Finale Ligure. They initially waited outside the door of the classroom with a policewoman while the teacher started the activity with the children. She asked everyone to draw pictures of an engineer and a police officer. Not surprisingly most of the drawings were of male engineers and policemen. At that point, the teacher introduced the two engineers and the policewoman to the pupils who looked astonished at seeing that they were three women.

However, after the initial reaction, the children became focused on asking questions about the guests’ jobs as engineers and police officer rather than gender.

Sara said: “All the children showed great interest in the challenges we face in our job roles and wanted to learn more about the educational paths we followed.  I was impressed by their curiosity, and the classroom was full of raised hands, so many questions to answer in just one hour!”

Giulia added: “I found this experience invaluable. Seeing the children so engaged in their learning about gender stereotypes made me feel very positive about the future. What’s more, given the curiosity they had about our work, we might have inspired a few to pursue a career in Engineering.”

The two engineers used their “volunteering day” to participate in the educational activity.

The volunteering day is a benefit offered to every Infineum employee globally and consists of an extra day of annual leave that can be used to support their community. This also links to our Sustainability approach and helps us deliver on the UN sustainability goal 3 in supporting people and communities.

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