Women In Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Innovation Task Force’s Report
by Tess Matteo
In an ever-changing, complex world, solving problems, making sense of information and knowing how to gather and evaluate evidence to make decisions are all skills developed in science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) disciplines, and are in great demand, especially to achieve the SDGs.
Over the past decade STEM jobs grew 3x greater than non-STEM jobs. Also, workers in STEM command 26% higher wages than non-STEM workers.
Economic inequality is inherently ‘sexist’ resulting in underutilized capacity for innovation. Women are under- represented throughout the innovation pipeline. This limits their economic opportunities and also stifles any pioneering ideas they might contribute. Although 57 percent of all four-year degrees are earned by women, only 35 percent of STEM bachelors degrees go to women. Women make up just 22 percent of the STEM work- force and hold only 16 percent of granted patents. The Task Force explored how to create more STEM opportu- nities for women and girls.
Inaugural Task Force Members included
- Chair Tess Mateo, BPW New York;
- Paola Ferrari, BPW Houston/Italy;
- Marie-Claude Machon-Honore, BPW Paris;
- Yinka Ajibola and Samira Jibir, BPW Abuja;
- and Theresa Sekamana, BPW Kigali.
Activities to date
Tremendous knowledge transfer, ideation and best practice sharing among five BPW chapters across three continents on renewable energy, STEM education, and health/medicine:
- Pilot Clean Energy Transformation Project @Glisten International Academy
- Theresa, who has several hydro power projects in Rwanda, and Tess provided Samira with advice on how to reduce her Academy’s high energy expenses by over 60% by converting to clean energy/solar and retrofitting light bulbs and fans. (SDGs 5&7)
- Pilot BPW Nigeria’s Coding for Girls through Gilgal Education Centre
- Girls power project launched so girls have access to robotics, artificial intelligence, and ICT Microsoft challenges. 15 girls from 10 schools competed in Technovation Challenge (SDGs 4&5)
- BPW International @UN Women/ITU’s EQUALS
- Tess arranged for Paola to join global partnership to bridge the digital gender divide (SDGs 5,8&9)
- Houston/Abuja Twinning
- Collaboration prepared BPW Nigeria to host a medical mission of 75 doctors to provide care to over 200 Nigerians in rural areas. (SDGs 3&5)
- #Equality Moonshot Soft Launch @NanoGagliato 2018 in Calabria, Italy
- Paola invited the Task Force to organize a roundtable on women in STEM with leading nanotechnology scientists, medical professionals and investors from around the world. (SDGs 3,4&5)
- BPW Nigeria @UNESCO/NGO Moscow Forum
- Marie-Claude invited Yinka and Samira to present Women in Science: Reinventing the Wheels of Education Techniques to Engineer Future Workspace. They also submitted Nigerian projects to Mobile Learning Week. (SDGs 4&5)
- International Day for Women & Girls in Science 2019 @UN HQ
- Tess moderated Royal Academy Science International Trust (RASIT)/UNCTAD event and invited Paola to talk about Academia de NanoGagliato and its STEM educational program, NanoPiccola (SDGs 3,4,5,8&9)
- Virtual UN Global Compact Leadership Summit 2020
- Tess moderated an online panel with Paola and Sandra D’Souza (BPW Sydney) (SDGs 5&8)
Report 2017-2020 / Workbook 2021, p. 60/61