Women should play a larger role in the biobased economy, according to two practical women. And they used # Girlsday 2014 for an instruction of 24 observation year girls of Lent’s Citadel College (The Netherlands) on their work in this sector. AgriQuest’s Foluke Quist and De Klik’s Martine Groenewegen organised a workshop on 24 April where pupils could investigate with all their senses biobased materials and products. The girls also produced biobased plastic themselves. They enjoyed most the practical side. Their teacher will investigate the possibility to repeat this workshop in higher forms of the investigation & design course.
Girlsday is an initiative of VHTO, a national expertise agency for girls and women on science and technology. 305 companies invited some 8,400 young girls to get acquainted with science, technology and ICT. This year, a record number of companies and girls participated. An increasing number of Dutch girls choose science in their secondary education. Likewise, more female students in universities study science: an increase of 20% in higher vocational training and 14% in universities. Female role models contribute to this development.
‘The biobased economy is relatively unknown as yet,’ says Martine Groenewegen, ‘but this ranges from sustainable energy to construction materials, chemistry and recycling of food waste, to higher-value biobased lifestyle products. It is too broad a subject for one person to cover. The advantage of working with Foluke Quist was that she and I have complementary skills.’ Both entrepreneurs are involved in innovation and need skilled personnel in the future. That could be an opportunity for girls who participated in the Girlsday workshop and have been inspired to choose biobased as their vocation.