Microsoft Aims To Inspire Women To Pursue careers In STEM
Globally, women are underrepresented in STEM. According to UNESCO, 29 percent of those in science research and development are women, with a low of 19 percent in South and West Asia and a high of 48 percent in Central Asia
Microsoft celebrates #MakeWhatsNext, an initiative to encourage girls to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). This movement helps raise awareness of the issues that cause girls to drop out of or lose interest in STEM and aims to pique their excitement in how they can change the world if they stay engaged.
Microsoft engages with girls, their parents, and teachers through various career coaching sessions and inspirational talks by industry leaders with an aim to expose girls to female role models, and engaging girls into hands-on activities where they use STEM skills to solve real-world challenges.
Dr. Daiana Beitler, Philanthropies Lead, Microsoft Asia on getting young women excited about STEM, “One of the reasons why young women do not identify with STEM is that they assume it does not align with their desire to be creative and make an impact in the world. However, there is a prime opportunity for teachers to break the misperception that STEM does not relate to the world at large. By designing computer science curricula around societal challenges and giving young women more exposure to female role models, teachers can make a huge difference in connecting their students’ passion to STEM.”
Globally, women are underrepresented in STEM. According to UNESCO, 29 percent of those in science research and development are women, with a low of 19 percent in South and West Asia and a high of 48 percent in Central Asia. In Asia Pacific, a recent survey conducted with YouGov highlighted that about a third of teachers (32 percent) have the mindset that girls’ lack of interest in computer science is the primary reason explaining their under-representation in the field, before other factors such as lack of parental support and issues with curricula not being applied to real-world applications.
With the MakeWhat’sNext campaign, Microsoft is enabling educators, parents, and government to do more to ignite and foster young women’s interest in STEM during their formative years in school. According to the Closing STEM gap research, a survey conducted by Microsoft, which looked at action steps for parents, teachers, nonprofit leaders and government, highlighted five key insights to encouraging girls to pursue STEM– (1) Provide role models, (2) Generate excitement, (3) Provide hands-on experience, (4) Provide encouragement, and (5) Encourage a growth mindset.
Dr. Daiana Beitler, Philanthropies Lead, Microsoft Asia on making STEM more accessible and interesting for all, “Although STEM-related skills play an increasingly vital role in shaping the world we live in and in solving some of our biggest societal challenges, only a fraction of young women are likely to pursue STEM in school and as a career. To achieve better gender balance in STEM, we are working with nonprofits and schools to build the capacity of educators on inclusive and gender-responsive computer science education so that all students, irrespective of their gender, are enabled to pursue their passion in STEM.”