The challenge that the project addresses
The shortage of women in STEM is well documented, but studies show the pipeline problem starts as young as 6 with girls opting out of maths and science subjects. This has a long term effect on the country and economy. As fewer women go into STEM, an integral part of the development of our continent, we will continue to have the challenge of poor service delivery, infrastructure and global competitiveness. The program looks holistically at the pipeline, and while WomEng has interventions from primary school programs to industry, we believe our commitment to empowering 1 million girls through STEM education will be the game changer for our continent
What is your project doing to respond to this challenge?
LaunchPad introduces the girl child to the world of STEM and aims to break stereotypes about the industry that have been embedded at an early age. LaunchPad provides the foundation for WomEng’s #1MillionGirlsInSTEM campaign which aims to create STEM awareness globally. WomEng has developed an open-source toolkit which enables passionate ambassadors globally to run these workshops in their local geographies. We have realised that this is a global challenge around gender in STEM. STEM is also a critical skill of the future. A huge driver to succeed on this program is to ensure that girls have the necessary skills to meet future demands and access jobs and opportunities in the 4th industrial revolution.
Describe the project's impact
The 1 million girls in STEM campaign was launched at the UN headquarters in 2017. Since then, we have run workshops in 15 countries around the world including South Africa, Malawi, Swaziland, Mauritius, USA, France, UK
– We have developed an open resource toolkit for anyone who would like to run these programs to ignite the STEM flame and inspire girls around the world
– We developed the “GirlEng guide to becoming an engineer” which is a helpful resource for girls to learn about STEM and meet female engineering role models
– The girls on the program are more engaged on STEM subjects and now believe anything is possible
– This program is part of a larger pipeline of programs which we run. The initial programs started in 2009 with high school students, and in 2014 these students graduated as engineers. We are currently tracking the careers of 32 of these girls
– We have an 80% application rate to STEM at universities from the girls on the program