Have you frequently heard that there is a serious lack of students, especially girls, undertaking STEM studies and careers in Europe? Did you know that only 17 women have won a Nobel Prize in physics, chemistry or medicine since Marie Curie in 1903, compared to no less than 572 men? And yet, are you also aware that the number of STEM related jobs which need filling continues to rise?
Your answer to one or more of these questions is probably ‘yes'. What companies are doing to help face these challenges is something however, we are often less aware about. That is why the STEM Alliance embarked on a series of activities during STEM Discovery week
to put gender equality in STEM under the spotlight.
Over 800 STEM education activities in 40 countries
were organised as part of this year's STEM Discovery Week campaign, reaching over 120,000 teachers, students, and other stakeholders interested in STEM Education
. That makes this third edition of STEM Discovery Week the biggest yet! For the first time, several activities were also streamed live and broadcast via Facebook and YouTube, reaching additional thousands of viewers! STEM Alliance is proud to have taken part in STEM Discovery Week 2018, and to be able to count many of our industry partners as official supporters of the campaign, including IBM
, CA Technologies
and Texas Instruments
On Thursday 26 April, STEM Alliance celebrated STEM Discovery Week in conjunction with the Scientix project in a special webinar devoted to how companies can help schools promote more girls in STEM studies and careers. The webinar featured top company representatives and aimed to raise the awareness of teachers and policy makers about what schemes companies are offering to help get girls into STEM careers. At the beginning of the webinar we asked participants in a live poll whether they or their students had been involved in any company initiatives to promote girls in STEM, and only 40% responded positively. This demonstrates that the webinar was very useful in raising the awareness of the majority of participants to whom this topic was new. At the end of the webinar we asked participants if they would recommend and consider becoming involved in one of the company schemes they heard about, and the positive response amounted to a resounding 99%.
Sarah Atkinson, Vice President, Communications and Executive Sponsor for Gender Diversity at CA Technologies, presented Create Tomorrow and the ‘People Like Me' programme, while Sara Cardeira, Corporate Citizenship Manager, IBM Portugal, spoke about the EX.I.TE camps, Teachers TryScience and SkillsBuild initiatives. These inspiring presentations sparked off a lot of comments and questions from participants, which you can still engage with by checking out the chat available in the webinar recording here.
During the webinar STEM Alliance's Info Sheet
and video animation
were launched, showcasing the useful initiatives companies have put in place to help meet the challenge of increasing female interest in STEM subjects. These initiatives cover: supporting research; providing role models, mentors and support communities; supporting educational programmes, career guidance, and entry into specific industries.
An impressive 331 participants in total joined the webinar, 80% of whom were teachers, 10% Ministry of Education representatives, 5% company representatives, and 5% researchers. It was very encouraging to learn that out of the participants who answered the evaluation survey, 93% stated that as a result of the webinar they learned more about what schemes companies are offering to help women in STEM, and around 91% also said they learned more about the STEM Alliance.
According to one teacher representative, ‘The webinar was clear and convincing, and it was really inspiring to see through the STEM Alliance video how much companies are doing to help women in STEM'. A Ministry of Education representative added, ‘It was a great opportunity to learn more about the STEM Alliance and how this consortium promotes the attractiveness and importance of STEM studies and jobs at school level.'