During International Women’s Week, which spans the first week in March, young women and girls across the world are geared up for bright futures in STEM. A number of prominent companies and organizations hosted programs aimed at keeping their interest in science and technology beyond middle school.
In London, 150 female students ages 12 to 13 participated in the Microsoft-sponsored Digigirlz program. Using a Microsoft product, the girls were tasked with building devices that solved a humanitarian dilemma, like climate change or online harassment.
“STEM skills play an increasingly important role in solving very real problems using technology which is why encouraging these girls to pursue careers in Stem is vital,” Microsoft’s community development specialist, Sahar Erfani, told Evening Standard.
In South Africa, 110 girls between the ages of 9 and 11 got a chance to participate in Mastercard’s first-ever Girls4Tech program in the country, which has expanded to over 500,000 girls in 27 nations. During the program, Mastercard employees mentored girls through an interactive curriculum. In the process, the girls learned all about the global science and math standards behind Mastercard’s payments technology—algorithms, encryption, fraud detection, data analysis, digital convergence and the power of our network, according to its website.
“Through our Girls4Tech program, we are committed to developing a strong pipeline of talent by encouraging girls to embrace the subjects that will prepare them for the workforce of the future, while helping to reduce the shortage of STEM skills that are needed to boost South Africa’s economy,” Suzanne Morel, Mastercard South Africa country manager, told hypertext.
In the United States, girls are earning badges in STEM. In Nebraska, the Girl Scouts, a youth organization for girls, introduced workshops aimed at educational and career aspirations, including science and technology. At the University of Nebraska at Omaha, scouts got to make chemistry experiments through the Magic of Chemistry program, and went on planetarium excursions.
“Girls that are young are very interested in STEM activities but the older they get, the less that interest sticks with them or they feel intimidated and they think of it more as a boys’ field,” Shannon O’Neill-Peterson, a marketing strategist for Girls Scouts Spirit of Nebraska, told The Gateway. “If you can really catch them while they’re young and keep them going with it, they can recognize some of those opportunities that are just out there waiting for them.”
Creating the Next Generation
It is crucial to teach young girls and boys about the possibilities in STEM. Join Lorena Garcia, IEEE Pre University Education Coordinating Committee Chair, and Burt Dicht, Director of Student and Academic Education Programs for IEEE Educational Activities, as they discuss how you can use the TryEngineering Lesson Plan Tool kit to inspire young children.
Date: 25 March 2020
Time: 12pm ET