STEM gender gap: A way out

According to the European Commission, women represent only the 17% of ICT specialists and the 34% of STEM graduates. In the same way, UNESCO affirms that less than 30% of researchers worldwide are women.

Working towards gender equality in STEM education

Since 2016, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) that operates the largest particle physics laboratory in the world, has a woman at its forefront. Fabiola Gianotti, an Italian particle physicist, is one of the women that is shaping the future of science. Like her, many inspiring women around the globe are driving systemic change, sparking innovation and bridging the existing gender gap in STEM education. But is this the rule or the exception?

It is important to ensure that no pervasive bias and stereotypes influence girls and boys when choosing a field of studies and pursuing it. In this regard, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development emphasises how closely intertwined science education and gender equality are and highlights the need to strengthen that link.

"We have to be very vigilant that young female scientists have the same opportunities as their male colleagues"
CERN Director General - Fabiola Gianotti

Nowadays, many educational initiatives and programmes focused on STEM education pave the way for a better and more equitable landscape. European Schoolnet's STEM Discovery Campaign is one of them. This international initiative invites projects, organisations, schools, and all stakeholders to promote careers and studies in the field by organising and supporting STEM related activities. The STEM Discovery Campaign is led by Scientix, the community for science education in Europe funded by the European Union's H2020 research and innovation programme, and organised in collaboration with numerous other projects and organisations.

The STEM Discovery Campaign

Only in 2019, almost 1000 activities were organised, reaching over 162,000 participants. This year, the STEM Discovery Campaign kicked off on the 1st of February and lasts until the 30th of April. It aims to bring visibility to STEM initiatives organised at national and European level. It is the perfect gateway for educators to share their innovative STEM projects and activities. Teachers all over the world are invited to participate by organising and implementing activities with their students in their classroom. In addition, they can join the online events and webinars and participate in the competitions organised by Scientix and other partner organisations.

This fifth edition is running under the tagline "Innovative Trends in Education", and the campaign is calling upon the most creative, unique and awe-inspiring STEM ideas and activities. If you are a teacher willing to contribute to the community or an organisation that wants to become a partner, keep an eye on the dedicated section on the Scientix portal.

Alternative ways to get involved

Much more is yet to come, but you can already participate in the ‘Bloom Stories of Implementation' competition or start creating your own learning scenario with the Teaching with Europeana blog. This year, many teachers have underlined the importance of encouraging young girls to take up education in STEM fields by creating learning scenarios focused on enhancing equal opportunities, discovering the history of women in science and developing digital skills.

Achieving gender equality in STEM education is not impossible, but it requires collaboration, collective effort and active participation in initiatives such as the STEM Discovery Campaign. So, if you are an educator or an organisation working in STEM, don't miss this opportunity to join us!