Mastercard has revealed that its science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programme, Girls4Tech, has reached its initial goal of educating one million girls. The programme has a new and inspiring ambition to reach five million girls by 2025.
The programme, which launched in 2014, offers activities and curriculum built on global science and math standards. Starting as a hands-on, in-person session run by employee volunteers, the programme has expanded into new topics such as artificial intelligence and cybersecurity.
“Our goal is to build foundational STEM knowledge and develop critical 21st-century skills girls need for their studies and career success. Our programme sparks their curiosity in STEM and teaches them real-world applications of those skills,” says Susan Warner, Founder of Girls4Tech.
The Girls4Tech workshops hosted in South Africa have inspired thousands of young South African girls to build the skills they need for STEM careers.
“Driving inclusion and equal opportunity are key priorities at Mastercard. Our aim with this programme is to inspire girls to not only pursue an interest in STEM studies but also to ensure that STEM career opportunities are reachable for them too. STEM skills are not only critical for building their confidence for technology careers but also upskilling women to ensure that they have a voice in the development of the products and services of the future,” says Suzanne Morel, Country Manager for South Africa at Mastercard.
Moving the needle for Girls in STEM
In 2019, Mastercard commissioned a study to understand gender and generational differences surrounding perceptions and attitudes of STEM-based topics and programs. It also explored challenges and motivations students cited for pursuing college majors and careers path.
The study showed that females are less confident, receive less encouragement and need more mentors in STEM. Mastercard’s Girls4Tech programme aims to provide each of those elements to young women.
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