Women STEM UP celebrates the International Day of Women and Girls in Science

On 11th of February, women and girls, alongside partners worldwide, celebrate the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. The day focuses on the reality that science and gender equality are both vital for the achievement of internationally agreed development goals, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This day allows us to recognize the role women and girls already play in science, promote the idea of STEM careers to future generations of women, and educate men on their role in encouraging and mentoring women and girls in schools and the workplace to pursue their technical and scientific passions. Women’s ability to enter STEM fields offers them a wider variety of employment opportunities with higher pay than what is found in many other fields. The demand for STEM skills around the world continues to grow and it is up to us to ensure women and girls do not miss out.

Digital Leadership Institute joined Linköping University (SE), Stimmuli for Social Change (GR), University of Thessaly (GR) and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NO) to develop the Women STEM UP project striving to facilitate access and participation of young women and girls in education, training and science and technology, and promote their equal access to full employment and decent work.

To this end, it sets the following objectives:

To break down gender stereotypes in STEM higher education ecosystem by creating a Training programme for STEMeducators and staff offering concrete examples that can be used in teaching and supervision in the STEM-areas. This will build on ready-made gender sensitive guiding tools and resources to encourage University staff to use language and interaction patterns free of gender stereotypes and gender sensitive approaches when planning, teaching, assessing and collaborating with students. Professors, lecturers and lab assistants will be trained on how to create a more welcominglearning environment for undergraduate female STEM students.

To boost confidence and empower female students to continue their involvement in STEM during and after their studies. To achieve this goal a Leadership & Inspiration Academy will be developed, offering training, mentoring, inspiration and access to women STEM professionals acting as mentors and role models. Cognitive tools will be utilized to ensure that the resources match the needs and preferences of women. Female students will be exposed to role models and will be encouraged to question the perceived masculinity of STEM. They will be connected with women STEM professionals and receive mentoring and support to continue their studies and develop sustainable careers.

To boost women’s passion for STEM by assisting female students to explore and understand the creativity and social impact potential in STEM. A “Women STEM UP for GOOD” programme will be developed to encourage female students to design and develop state of the art projects for the STEM areas and to practically see the socio-technical importance of the implementation of gender issues in technical projects. To this end, we will follow an E-STEAM approach to extend the STEM skill set to include entrepreneurship and creativity (E standing for Entrepreneurship and A for Arts) as according to evidence ESTEAM has a stronger potential to increase women participation in these fields. Thus, women will be involved in hands-on problem-based learning activities to develop E-STEAM skills while addressing gender stereotypes.

Follow the developments of the Women STEM UP project at https://women-stem-up.eu/