The gender gap in stem-related studies remains wide in the EU, where women make up around a quarter of stem (science technology engineering mathematics) graduates in higher education.
To help challenge accepted ideas about these fields, Vodafone Luxembourg joined forces with the global girls stem promotion organisation greenlight for girls, and invited 40 students aged 11 to 15 for a day of workshops on Wednesday.
The g4g at work activities, which challenged stem perceptions, ranged from a destructive discovery session to decorating a lab coat and they included meetings with professional role models working in stem fields.
“We want for them to take up long-term stem career paths and show that stem is in everything they do,” g4g at work Brussels coordinator Alexaundra Zanella told Delano on 7 March, adding: “This is the time we can impact them the most. That’s why it’s girl focused. Some events are boys and girls, but g4g at work are for girls because when girls and boys are in the room together, sometimes it’s easy for the boys to take things over.”
The not-for-profit has worked with over 23,500 young people since it was founded seven years ago by engineer and entrepreneur Melissa Rancourt. Zanella said that despite the cultural differences the striking similarity was they found a need to explain stem to all girls, everywhere.
“We did an event in Silicon Valley and thought, no-one needs thinks because of all of the technology--there must be loads of inspiration. But the parents said this is something our girls don’t have the opportunity to do,” Zanella explained.
Vodafone digital SCM team Priscila Queiros helped connect her employer with the NGO, having volunteered for them when she lived in Brazil. “I have a foot in both camps. Vodafone also has a bunch of activities for reconnecting and women’s empowerment. I said, we’re doing a lot for women. How about we connect to the root of the problem,” she said.