Will the next year of competitions bring more girls into FIRST?

We all know that FIRST is a one-of-a-kind organization that offers many benefits to its participants. The issue of this thread relates to the “participants” bit. Sure, we all see both guys and girls at competitions. But everyone agrees that there could be a greater quantity of involvement from girls.

I’d like to say foremost, that it is phenomenal that organizations such as RCU are working towards recruiting girls and encouraging them to take advantage of FIRST. Their efforts are very much appreciated and they have had very good results which are by all means: GREAT!

However, this thread is based around the fact that we are in the eve of a new year of FIRST Robotics Competitions (2005). And well, it would be nice to discuss how teams and individuals themselves feel about the situation and what ideas they have about making it better. I would like to know the following:

  1. How you feel personally about the participation that is offered in your team by girls? Do you think that they are active and involved enough or as much as everyone else? Or perhaps could girls be more involved within your team and in which type of type of activities could they partake?

  2. If your team is lacking in the number of female members, what creative and useful ideas could you implement to draw more girls into your team as the new year commences?

I would like to encourage everyone to post their ideas as it should be a topic that all team members and FIRST members should get to discuss. I would like to give thanks in advance for your comments and replies.

Looking forward to seeing EVERYONE benefit from the wonderful opportunities that FIRST has. :smiley:

I’m with you on this one. Recently I attended orientation at Cal Poly Pomona. There were a lot of girls there. And then they separated us by major (ME for me) and all the girls were gone except for 2. Like 50 guys and 2 girls. So sad.

Good thread Nadia,

Our team has problems in this area. Team 45 is weak with regard to female involvement. We had 3 girls on our team last year, and none were very active. Our boys are fairly dominant. We have had some great gals on our team in the past, including team leaders, welders, and machine operators. However, last year was our worst with regard to female involvement.

We need to address this issue during our fall recruiting. I am passionate about providing more opportunities for girls, since I have 3 daughters. This is an issue that we will target. We don’t have a complete plan for this yet, but we need to target demos to female organizations.

Last spring, we had a “women in engineering” conference at Kokomo High School. This introduced students to female engineers and also showed them what opportunities they had in school (PLTW, FIRST, VICA, etc.)

More female adults need to get involved with FIRST teams and become mentors. I appreciate that we have a strong female engineer on our team who also serves as our field coach (thanks, Amy!). We need more people like her to serve as mentors to young ladies.

As I said above, our team struggles in this area. Please post responses to this so we can get some new ideas about how to recruit girls on our FIRST team.

Andy B.

This coming season it looks like every senior member of our team will be female. We also have a good number of underclassmen girls on the team. For most of the girls, our team is a year-round commitment, because aside from build season and competition season, we work on our off season competition, lego competitions and and other PR things, as well as the Chairman’s Award. I’m not saything we do PR things just because we’re girls, but that is how a lot of our female members choose to contribute to the team, and put in just as much work and effort as the boys. We do have girls who build and program too. A couple of years back a girl programmed all our autonomous modes by herself.

I think a good way to recruit girls is psycology based. You have to present it to them in a different way then boys. You’re more likely to get a guy to join if you put up a flyer that says ‘Hey wanna build stuff?’, but with girls, sometimes it takes a little more convincing. What we do is show videos of the competitions, and slideshows of our season, as well as explain the FIRST experience and our team experience in a assembly for our school and at freshman orientation, and it seems like the girls respond to the people aspect of FIRST.

Also, I think it’s really important that once the girls join the team, they are treated just like the guys. They should be given every learning opportunity that the boys are, but if they choose to work on aspects other than building, they should still be treated with respect and recognized as a vital team member.

Girls definately add to the dynamics of a team, and I agree that we need more girls in FIRST.

If I remember correctly, we had four females on 1293 this year. They were (give or take a bit) as active as anyone else on the team.

They were outnumbered about five to one on the team, but they pulled their weight more than some of the guys. (And played a mean game of Halo, too.)

On my team, we have about 8 girls. I was the only girl actively on the build team, however this was by choice, no girl was told not to do it. We also have 2-3 females on drive (including myself) and others on Animation, Programming, Fundraising and Spirit. We have commitees, and most of the girls were just as active or more so than the guys on our team. I was the Captain of my team this past year (choosen by students) and probably was the kid doing the most. Although there were many kids not very far behind me.
Girls are very hard to recruit, the new ones this year were all from either siblings previously on the team, or had a friend (happened to be male) and join with them because they thought the program sounded interesting. Older girls were previously brought in by siblings or friends talking about the program.
Our team has about 30-35 members, so we have a decent number of females, although, personally i would like some to become more active, it is their choice and they do a lot for the team already.
We are having enough issues with recruiting already, so we don’t really target females, although if they do show intrest, we might pull a little harder for them to come.
Girls are treated just like guys on the team, there is no difference, although that took a little effort from my class to make it so, it was done. And now we kick guy’s booty;)

first of all, i hate this computer, i just had a beautifully written post typed out and my computer just decided to go blank, but anyway, back to the topic…

This year, for the first year ever, S.P.A.M. has started a girl’s camp, or so we call it. It’s where they bring girls into the pit to where all the machinery is, and send them to work. Okay, not really. It’s just where the girls can come into the pit and learn about all the tools and machinery without being bothered by any of the guys telling them that they don’t know what they’re doing and to leave. Now, when our meetings start up, the girls can tell all the guys that they don’t know what they’re doing and that they should leave it to the professionals. okay, well, i’m only half kidding about that, the girls on 180 aren’t that mean.
Today was the first day of camp. 7 of us showed up, and we expect someone else tomarrow. Plus, we have another 4, i think, girls on our team. The pit was so quiet… and clean! The only people there were the 7 of us, the coordinator of the camp, and an engineer. We made nuts from a drawing. We all learned about calipers, bansaws, mills, and lathes. Most of all, we got practice making things from a drawing, which is what we’ll need to do for build season, and we learned how to use the machinery PROPERLY.
We started making screws, but we didn’t have enough time, so we’ll finish that tomarrow.
I really wish this would have been here my freshman year, because then i wouldn’t have been pushed out of the pit because i didn’t know what i was doing. but still, even tho i am going to be a junior, i’m still happy that i’m learning how to properly use all the machinery, and i’m also really glad that we’ve got more girls on the team… Go RCU!!!

Team 237 has about a dozen girls on the team and they are involved just as much as the guys. I know of 3 that machine, Liz, Nikki, and Aileen. I know of one that did wiring, Anet. We also have one that graduated and came back last year to help the electrical group, Sara (Smilt237). I know Shelby (ShelbyLeigh237) not only does a lot of fundraising but also helped build and assemble our practice field. Anet also helped with the field. Lea, Trina (Trinora), Tonya (Tonya237) and Julie (UnStumpable237) handled our PR. Julie was the one with the Rubik’s Cube for those of you who know what I’m talking about.
One highly reconized member of the ChiefDelphi community was also a member of 237 a few years ago, the one and the only…Jessica Boucher. :slight_smile:

The participation on my team is very rare. I’m the only girl as of the end of this past season. There have been a lot of girls in the past, but each year it’s decreased. I don’t see why, but I do have a small opinion. It’s because most girls find FIRST to be “nerdy” and “uncool”.
The reason I think this, is because some girls I’ve asked (some being my friends, some just acquaintances) have said they either a) aren’t interested and b) don’t think it’s cool. I find this to be a really week response. Mainly because these girls have yet to see that FIRST is really an amazing experience. Then again, I do understand where they are coming from, because no girls (except for me) are involved in FIRST at my school. They don’t know that hundreds if not thousands of girls are involved.
It offers technology skills, business skills, PR skills, etc. The possibilities are endless! I just hope that our school can somehow get more girls involved, besides bribing them (ahem, Nate…;))

I think that our school should actually make a small video to show on the TVs during homeroom. A teacher at our school gave us the idea about doing a documentary for it. I think it’s an excellent idea, and he wants me to head it up. So, I hope this will really draw some attention to the team. We may do posters like previous years, but that was hardly successful. Normally we also do demos at open houses for incoming freshmen, and give small demos at our school fair, and at our state fair as well (which won’t be happening…:(), and we do demos at other big celebrations or whatnot at the school. I just hope we come up with some creative ideas this summer…sigh I don’t want to be the only girl!
–d0ri
p.s. Franchesca, excellent thread! you rock.

This years team was the first in my three years that leaned towards male dominant. My wife and Ms. Foos gather freshmen and sophmores to recruit and don’t push for any particular demographic(we do not discrimanate against race, gender, religious standing or GPA). We would like the team to be diverse but we also would like people who are enthustic about partcipating as well so we tend to lean towards the latter.

This year, we only had one girl on our team, and she only showed up to a couple of meetings. Whenever she was there, she worked a lot though. I think it’s probably because she was a senior, they generally have odd schedule at our school. Our team is also not very ethnically diverse, so we need to either branch out more, or revise our recruitment techniques.

I think we need to not use the 'tools scattered everywhere, people with grease all over their hands bending over a big hunk of metal, loud noises, geeks bent over computers" image as much.

Unfortunately, that is basically what our meetings look like. :slight_smile:

Any ideas?

Thaine