The percentage of women studying in higher education, currently standing at 53 per cent, corresponds to the Western-European average. There is, however, a shortfall in technical studies, and the goal is therefore to increase the percentage of women participating in engineering training programmes, the Minister of State responsible for education at the Ministry of Human Capacities said on Monday in Budapest.

László Palkovics said before an audience of secondary school girls at the opening of the series of events TechGirls initiated by the German-Hungarian Chamber of Industry and Commerce: it is worth becoming an engineer, it is a good job, and it is not any more difficult to become one than to train as a doctor. While it is true that students are required to study a great deal during the course of their training programmes, there are no easy vocations, he pointed out.

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Those, however, who graduate in these areas are certain to find jobs, and not just any jobs, as it is not possible to follow the development of technology without competent experts. What the world will look like in sixty or seventy years’ time depends on those who are now enrolling in university, he highlighted.

The Hungarian vehicle industry is among the best, and international companies which are working on the development of vehicle-to-vehicle communication will with great probability opt for Budapest upon the selection of the location for their projects because the necessary expertise is available here, Mr Palkovics said who encouraged the attending students to do their jobs well if they opt for engineering as their career choice.

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János Józsa, Rector of the Budapest University of Technology and Economics stressed that the areas of technology, information technology and science offer young people the joy of creation, and this befits women just as much as men.

He encouraged the members of his audience to have an open mind, and upon visiting the various stands, they should stay true to their respective personalities, „rather than yielding to pressure”. One must enjoy the line of work one chooses, and if that is not the case, it must be abandoned for another, he said.

He said as a funny remark: those who want to be engineers must undergo “a story of suffering” for four to six years. However, instructors at the university do everything they can for their students, he added.

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Dale A. Martin, President of the German-Hungarian Chamber of Industry and Commerce, President-Chief Executive Officer of Siemens Zrt. said: it is cool to be an engineer, but it is even cooler to be a female engineer.

There are only 16 to 17 per cent women in higher education in the fields of the design and production of vehicles, and only 6 per cent choose automation. In fact, his own colleagues at Siemens, too, are men in the majority, he said.

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At the same time, he stressed that the attending students may choose to pursue any career they want, and so they may equally become engineers, rather than lawyers or doctors. There is a great deal of excitement and interesting exploration in this line of work, he pointed out.

He said that the percentage of female drivers has doubled in the last ten years which stands at around twenty per cent world-wide at present.

Dale A. Martin also expressed hope that he may meet the attending students in a few years’ time and may then welcome them as colleagues. Organisers of the event expected more than three hundred girls from Budapest secondary schools to attend the event which sought to arouse interest in technical professions.