Building sustainable structures to Empower Girls in STEM and ICT
by Dita Kreuz, Laura Wanckel and Chrissi Fischer
Inspiring Girls to Unlock their Potential
The GEM project empowers girls to embrace their digital and entrepreneurial potential. By participating in activities like summer schools, girls gain confidence and inspiration to pursue careers in traditionally masculine fields like ICT. However, there is more to empowering girls than just inspiring them directly.
Participants of the GEM Summer Camp for girls with their 3D-printed Escape Room elements. Picture: ICSE
Paving the Way
Aspiring girls and young women need allies and structures that makes it possible for them to achieve their goals in supportive and non-hostile environments. To strengthen these structures, the GEM Network offers professionals the possibility to connect with one another and support each other in creating empowering environments and structures for the next generation of women.
The goal hereby is to build a long-term Europe-wide network of different stakeholders from STEM education, digital and entrepreneurial sectors. Members of this network share information on equal opportunities for girls in STEM, show best practice examples in their countries in their different fields of action and are encouraged to implement a variety of awareness-raising activities in society to support girls and make a difference.
Building Synergy during the first Kick-Off Meeting
The first GEM Network Meeting took place on November 11, 2021 online. It was an empowering success for professionals (all female- even though the meeting was open for all genders) from the following five different European countries: Slovakia, Germany, Czech Republic, Malta and Spain. The different sessions in the meeting covered the intention and measures of the GEM project, some background knowledge around the current (sadly very sobering) situation of gender (in-)equality in ICT and STEM, the Horizon Europe attempt to change it and the societal environment and how it carves the path for professional careers of girls through socialization (usually towards traditionally female coined careers). Finally, the participants talked about positive examples of practices that do work in inspiring girls AND realistically supporting them on their way towards ICT/STEM careers. Participants left the meeting feeling energized and inspired. One woman shared: “The room was crackling from female power! It felt great to be surrounded by other women, who are determined to change the situation and pave the way forward for future generations!”
The network is open for new members to join!
As a member of the network you will on the one hand be sensitised to gender-equitable STEM education, receive information on relevant gender topics and on the other hand you will help shape the network with your contributions which will be published on our website (deficits in STEM/digital education, drop-out rates of girls, roles and barriers of girls, serious upcoming lack of digital skills, loss of innovation capacity for Europe etc.). As a network member, you will have the opportunity to share your experiences and knowledge with each other. During the project period, meetings with political decision-makers at regional, national and also European level will be planned in order to present the project and its goals.
If you are a representative of a school, higher education institution, company or policy maker please, feel free to join our mailing list to receive the latest news and events about the GEM network or get in touch with the project manager Dita Kreuz.
JOIN the GEM Network now!
Programme Manager and Project Manager Girls4STEM