Pro-actively challenging limiting gender stereotypes through parenting and education from pre-school will help boys survive the limiting norms of masculinity that they're under immense pressure to conform to. Norms that stifle their expression, exploration and stamp out their rich and varied humanity.
Engineering is so much more than this outdated stereotype. Engineering is about designing and delivering systems that facilitate education and healthcare, enhance quality of life, and help to eliminate global poverty. Engineers have been in the driving seat of social change for centuries - from bringing electricity to billions to helping to eradicate life-threatening disease.
Now, I wish to take a step back for a moment. You may be thinking it is strange for me to say 'mothers from day one', but it is true. If you look at the toys advertised for girls even today - what do we have? Garish amounts of playthings that are designed to ingrain a want in young girls to be perfect little wives and moulded into aspiring little mummies when they grow up.
Thugger now wants to be referred to as Jeffrey, his real name. Jeffrey's cover features the Atlanta rapper in a blue dress with tiered cascading ruffles that wrap around his white buttoned-down shirt, an outfit which took him an hour and a half just to put on. Apparently, this is controversial because of the masculinity that pervades the rap industry, and because of the cover, he even held back its release for some time.
Girls today may be the first generation able to end the hugely uneven mix of boys and girls going into STEM-related careers. All sorts of factors are now in place to allow girls to follow the passions that suit them, not just those that fit with gender stereotypes. However, to really achieve this, we need adults (parents in particular) to avoid sending out the message that some activities and careers are 'not for girls' or 'not for boys'.