This July, a new campaign is taking off in Manila with hopes of creating a group of future-ready #STEMPowered girls.
Through a program called #STEMPower Our Girls, more than 100 6th grade students from public schools across the Philippines will receive specialized training and mentorship from the Philippines’ top women scientists, technology and innovation drivers, and industry captains.
#STEMPower Our Girls is a social impact program implemented by Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) and communications firm Evident Communications in direct response to the disparity between the number of men and women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics careers. It is funded by Investing in Women, an initiative of the Australian government.
Love Basillote, Executive Director of Philippine Business for Education (PBEd), explains that early intervention is key to ensuring that more women are funneled to STEM tracks.
There are a number of requisites to attracting more women in STEM: equal opportunities in school and at work, encouragement from the immediate environment, having more female role models, and greater technical and financial support for girls’ and women’s STEM based aspirations.
“Globally, only 30% of the STEM workforce are women and as we get to senior leadership roles, we see fewer and fewer women. Many factors are behind this statistic and they can be cultural, social, or economic. One such factor is the lack of women role models,” says Love Basillote, Executive Director of PBEd.
According to PBEd, middle school is where girls have a considerable level of interest in STEM, but this interest diminishes as they enter the high school years. It is even more challenging for girls when they are in an environment with reinforced beliefs that STEM is only for boys.
PBEd, Evident Communications, and Investing in Women will implement the #STEMPower Our Girls program in three pilot areas: Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, and Cagayan de Oro with 40 girls per pilot area chosen based on academic merit and proclaimed interest in STEM.
The first round of industry talks with partners and role models will start in September 2018, while the actual training sessions with the participants will start in October 2018 with the aim to have the participants to eventually enroll in a science high school or take a STEM-related college course.
The #STEMPower Our Girls project also includes an advocacy communications component to expand the beneficiaries of the #STEMPower Our Girls dialogue to the national level through digital media and content.
“We think it’s necessary for us to create an enabling and nurturing environment for girls all over the Philippines to pursue STEM careers; we need parents and teachers to support their aspirations and to inspire young girls to apply to science high schools and pursue careers in STEM ,” says Cecile Dominguez-Yujuico, CEO of Evident Communications.
Through the #STEMPower Our Girls program, we are committed to building a community of supporters nationwide that will help Filipino girls reach their full potential and become the country’s science and technology leaders of tomorrow.”