How can we break the stereotypes around STEM education and career pathways? Can we raise girls’ interest in STEM by enhancing the STEM curriculum in education from early age? Microsoft and UNESCO presented their findings during the event ‘Changing the FACE of STEM’.
Fostering girls’ interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education) and inspiring them to choose a career within STEM fields is a challenge. Microsoft in collaboration with UNESCO, recently unveiled their findings at the ‘Changing the FACE of STEM’ event in Belgium.
According to Microsoft, with women only making up 30% of Europe’s ICT workforce and an expected shortage of up to 500,000 ICT workers by 2020, there is a wide gap.
However, the organization noted that the number of girls interested in STEM across Europe, on average, almost doubles when they have a role model to inspire them.
The event was part of the #MakeWhatsNext campaign running across 23 European countries to inspire and demonstrate how technology and science can empower young women.
On the other hand, UNESCO aims to ‘crack the code’, or to decipher the factors that hinder or facilitate girls’ and women’s participation, achievement and continuation in STEM education, and what can be done by the education sector to promote girls’ and women’s interest in, and engagement with, STEM.
STEM education today is still facing economic barriers, as STEM educational materials are often expensive. Therefore, STEM education still needs to modernize and be made available through accessible everyday materials.