MARBURG, Germany - Girls and women in Germany enjoy a high-quality, free education and, legally, they have equal right to jobs in the sciences. Yet statistics show most German women stick to just 10 professional areas - none of them in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM).
“The traditionally male-dominated arenas of science and technology have officially been open to women for years; however, practically speaking, many girls still don’t even know these jobs exist,” said Tanja Templer, Human Resources Director at CSL Behring in Marburg.
To help change that, CSL Behring recently joined with more than 25 countries to take part in Girls’ Day. The program, which launched in Germany in 2001, aims to foster interest in science and STEM careers. Similar to Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day in the United States, girls are excused from school to experience a real workday within a participating technical and science-related company.
At CSL Behring’s Marburg location, 30 girls ages 11 to 14 tested their skills at real-life job duties at a manufacturing site, such as visual inspection. The biotech company develops life-saving treatments for patients who have rare and serious diseases. The girls also did hands-on experiments – naturally wearing full lab gear and using authentic tools. Guided by a few of Marburg’s promising young bio lab assistants, the participants asked great questions in their quest to find cures for various hypothetical diseases.
There’s good reason to invite more girls to think about a career in the sciences: They make valuable contributions to the scientific process. Research has shown that a gender balance in sciences-related fields enhances the quality of outcomes due to women’s unique perspective and problem-solving skills.
Since the first Girls’ Day in Marburg in 2009, professional applications by women have risen. Is there a correlation? Perhaps, said Templer.
“For CSL Behring in Marburg, Girls’ Day is a wonderful opportunity to open our doors to our Marburg family members and other interested youngsters, to invite future scientists for a visit, and to provide young women and girls with some insight into the important work we do here.”