Ford Motor Company is continuing to encourage future generations of female engineers, expanding its “Girls’ Fast Track Races” with the Girl Scouts of America from four to eight councils. The exercise will now be open to hundreds of Brownies and Juniors from the states of Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, and Texas.
Like the Boy Scouts’ Pinewood Derby, Girls’ Fast Track Races have scouts build their own model wooden race cars to compete against one another on a straight-line, downhill track. In the process, the scouts learn about design, aerodynamics, and weight-distribution, gaining hands-on experience in applying these concepts to maximize downhill acceleration.
“Girl Scouts has long been committed to challenging stereotypes and providing girls of all ages with interactive and engaging programs that increase their interest in STEAM,” says Vice President of Institutional Giving for Girl Scouts of the USA Elizabeth Perez. STEAM is an acronym that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Math.
“We are grateful for our Ford collaboration because it goes beyond simply offering STEAM content; Ford engineers work directly with girls during the races. Providing this leadership development opportunity is a key element of our Girl Scout programming.”
Young women often face very different barriers from those faced by young men when it comes to pursuing a career in STEAM-related fields, as such pursuits are typically perceived as being more “masculine”. Ford has launched a number of initiatives designed to encourage female participation in STEAM fields, to help combat some of the societal pressures working against young women with such interests, including a collaboration with US non-profit Girls Who Code.