EDF competition designed to attract girls to STEM careers won by 13-year-old boy

EDF Energy has come under fire after a 13-year-old boy won its competition designed to make science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) subjects more appealing to teenage girls.

The Pretty Curious programme asked children to think of ideas for a connected home bedroom product, originally aimed at girls the competition was opened up to all 11 to 16-year-olds.

According to the BBC, the decision to open the competition to both genders was made in the interest of fairness with "a couple of hundred" entries received. The winner's idea was for a games controller which harnessed kinetic energy from the users thumb actions.

Amy Edmunson, an electrical maintenance technician at EDF said it was "exciting to see so many young people getting involved in this type of initiative."

However, computer scientist Dr Sue Black OBE, criticised the competition.

"Congratulations to the winner - but I'd love to hear from EDF how the winning solution meets their stated aim for the competition," said Black. "It is taking me a bit of time to work out how this result will change girls' perceptions of Stem."

EDF justified the winning choice, when pressed by BBC journalist Zoe Kleinman on Twitter, with a tweet that read while "the aim of #PrettyCurious was to encourage girls into #STEM, the #PrettyCuriousChallenge was a gender-neutral competition."

Three of the four runners-up were submitted by girls.

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Gillian West

Gillian West is The Drum’s social media manager and works to ensure The Drum’s content reaches followers across platforms including Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram in an engaging, relevant and timely manner. Based in Glasgow, she has been actively involved in building The Drum’s Creative Works brand for over three years now and has interviewed major creative figures including Rankin, Peter Souter, Rosie Arnold, Bob Greenberg and Vicki Maguire. During her time at The Drum she has attended events such as Cannes Lions, the Edinburgh International TV Festival, Art Director’s Club Europe, D&AD and more.

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