I hope each of you takes a moment to look at the February 2016 Friend magazine, which includes an article encouraging girls’ interests in engineering. The spread on pp. 34-36 includes the title “Savannah the Engineer” and a picture of a girl (possibly Latina?) driving a blueprint car:
The article opens with the scripture “Every good gift cometh of Christ” (Moroni 10:18), and tells the story of a young girl who joins her school’s battery-operated car building club (alternative energy, so hip!). Along the way, she faces skepticism from peers and self-doubt, but uses her Mormon peer pressure resistance toolkit to cast off the nay-sayers and continue in her passion.
The accompanying activity on the next page is perhaps even more interesting. It shows male and female silhouettes, and encourages children to check boxes indicating the things they can do or are interested in. There are gender-exclusive boxes immediately under the respective gender silhouettes (e.g., “I am a son” and “I am a sister”), but also a shared area clearly identifying some activities and interests as applicable to any gender:
The common area spans both gender columns, but the interests are clearly scattered in a way to avoid suggesting that some fit under traditional gender stereotypes. For example, “I like math” and “I like science” are far to the left, under the female silhouette.
While still adhering to current church policy and doctrine of gender binary and male-only priesthood ordination, this is encouragingly, dare I say, “politically correct”! With women earning 57% of all bachelor’s degrees in the United States, but only 19% of the engineering degrees, I’m absolutely delighted to see the Friend encouraging more girls to enter this rewarding and in-demand career. A flood of Mormon girls and women entering the field of engineering would go a long way towards closing Utah’s gender pay gap, one of the largest of the United States.