Tackling Gender Stereotypes in STEM

26 September 2016

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Gender stereotypes in the field of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)

Over the last years it has become clear that the STEM sectors are growing and that there is an increasing demand for STEM skilled people. However, there are too few young people choosing for studies or a career in this field to meet that growing demand. Women, especially, are seriously underrepresented in this area. According to a study from the European Parliament only 12.6% of all female university graduates had a STEM background. Companies have also indicated that they are experiencing significant problems with the recruitment of female STEM professionals. The cause of this gender imbalance in the STEM sector is likely caused by existing gender stereotypes, which are learned from a young age.

The 2015 Global Gender Gap Report states that only 28 percent of tertiary-level students enrolled in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics subjects in Malta were female, while the percentage for males stood at 72 percent. It continues by saying that when women do graduate from STEM, the likelihood of them establishing themselves in these fields is low.

CORE Platform, together with CSR Europe and 14 other National Partner Organisations, has embarked on a mission to address the stereotyping of education and career choices relating to STEM and to dissolve the persisting imbalance in the STEM field.

Project activities

  • Setting up of business-education partnerships to deliver awareness-raising activities for 13-19 year-old students, their parents, and company representatives to address and question stereotypes and attract women into male-dominated STEM sectors;
  • Development of a toolkit and provision of training for national partner organisations on how to set-up business-education partnerships on STEM and gender Stereotypes;
  • Impact assessment of activities;
  • Facilitation of a learning network for companies at both national and EU level that aims to improve the impact of a company’s STEM programme (with an emphasis on tackling gender stereotypes). Activities include assessing company processes with the CSR Europe STEM-π tool, facilitation of best practice exchange through organising workshops and webinar, etc;
  • Development and provision of training, online courses and a guide for teachers so that they are equipped with all the tools necessary to combat gender stereotypes.