University of Girona (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN22 Proceedings
Publication year: 2022
Pages: 2335-2338
ISBN: 978-84-09-42484-9
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2022.0607
Conference name: 14th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2022
Location: Palma, Spain
The decrease of women in engineering studies is a matter of concern in all universities around the world, due to the loss of diversity that it represents to the future of our society. To change this decreasing trend, several initiatives have been aroused from the university, associations and companies. This is the case of the FEMenGIN women team at the university of Girona, where the presence of women in engineering studies has decreased up to less than 20% in the academic year 2017-2018, with some studies around 10%.
FEMenGIN organizes different activities addressed to women engineering students in order to empower them. That is the case of the speed networking that holds around the woman labours day (March 8th).

Speed networking is a meeting point among women engineers, both students and professionals, with the aim to visualize that students are not alone. That is, in a Computers Science Engineering course, there could be a single woman, while in the full Computer Science Studies, up to 10. Moreover, in the whole Engineering Faculty, up to 50. Therefore, the mutual acquaintance among women students is of crucial importance to break the isolation perspective. Moreover, speed networking aims to introduce professional engineers to students as mentors for providing useful guidelines in their future careers.
Speed networking is scheduled for an afternoon, after classes. It consists on sitting down students and professionals in different tables, to have a team mentorship. Students and professionals are distributed looking for diversity. Students from different engineering (computer science, electronics, electricity, …) are assigned to the same team. On the other hand, professionals of different backgrounds are assigned to the tables. Each team of students has 10’ to chat with the professionals in a table, by turns. At the end of the journey, all the students have had the opportunity to talk with all the professionals invited to the speed networking.

Speed networking has been held since 2018 to now, with the exception of 2021 due to pandemic. We skipped this session because we understand that speed networking requires and in-person running. Results are measured according to the number of participants and relationship set, and also by a satisfaction enquiry gathered at the end of the session. In general, the number of participants is stable: 21.50 (+- 2.65) students and 19.25 (+- 2.50) professionals in average. The amount of relationships set among professionals and students varies, depending on the number of tables available (from 136 to 289 connections). Students are highly satisfied and not surprisingly, we get a very satisfactory feedback from professional women who found at this gathering an opportunity to meet with other professionals and empower them too.

The low number of women engineering students is an established fact. Speed networking seems to be a suitable tool to empower women in engineering, and give them the opportunity to understand how to break the isolation due to genre and growth in their professional career.
Women in engineering, Leadership, Diversity.