Where are all the women?
Inspired by his teenage daughter, Mark Glazebrook founded Girls Invent to help young women translate their inventions into marketable products.
The genesis of Girls Invent was a conversation I had with my teenage daughter Taya. One day she said to me “Dad, why are most inventors men? Zuckerberg, Gates, Branson, Edison… where are the women?” I realised she had a powerful point. So I decided to use my professional skills to build a school program aimed at supporting girls to first create their own products and then take their ideas all the way onto retail shelves.
I love innovation and ideas – especially in hard to solve areas. I’ve invented my own products and commercialised these in several industries including pets, baking, employee retention, and health and safety. When I worked in the oil and gas industry, I led a team to invent a new unsniffable fuel to help reduce petrol sniffing amongst young people in remote communities. The Girls Invent program draws on that experience.
I want to create self belief in girls that they can create their own products and businesses whilst still at school. I want to help them make the connections between their talents and opportunities. And I want to open up self-employment opportunities for girls who may need to create their own jobs in future as more and more jobs disappear or radically change…Continue reading
Teachers are very encouraging. They see the Girls Invent program as bringing in real world opportunities and pathways that educators are not accustomed to or familiar with. Principals and teachers report greater student collaboration, motivation in class, and interest in STEM studies. And so as well as running workshops ourselves, we’re now providing professional development sessions for educators about how to build innovation into core school curriculum.
We’ve also found that teachers will seek us out for tips on progressing their own inventions. These are often ideas that they have been sitting on for some time. We are only too happy to help out because if teachers are personally engaged, this helps us to build a culture of innovation and excitement amongst the whole school community.
The good news is that young people already have the innate abilities to do amazing things in their lives. True creativity comes from students paying more and more attention to what is right in front of them – challenges that they, their families and others around them experience day to to day. Innovators see these as opportunities to try something new. Girls have this ability in spades and our challenge as educators is to know when to step in and help and when to get of their way.
Read about year 8 student Emmy’s experience of the Girls Invent program.
Find out more about Girls Invent at girlsinvent.com.au