2021-1-BG01-KA220-HED-000023004 Women in STEM – overcoming stereotypes

Project 2021-1-BG01-KA220-HED-000023004 Women in STEM – overcoming stereotypes

 Project duration: 01-11-2021 –  01-11-2024, 36 months

LP -TRAKIA UNIVERSITY , Stara Zagora, Bulgaria

Partners:

UNIVERZITET MAJKA TEREZA VO SKOPJE The Republic of North Macedonia

EOS DEVELOPMENTAL SA Greece

IMS Private School Cyprus

Association of Young Psychologists in Bulgaria , Varna

 Summary

Currently, worldwide women make up only 28% of the workforce in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and men outnumber women in most STEM fields in higher education and occupations. The gender STEM pay gap is especially large in the fields of Engineering (21%), Computer Science (19%) and ICT. This is a relevant issue for women in the EU as those occupations are one of the fastest-growing, the highest-paid and with greater opportunities for career development and success. One of the reasons is that the educational environment is not inclusive and diverse enough for women and does not address gender-based bias towards them (women are often viewed as more inferior and underperforming than men in STEM fields). This decreases the motivation of women and girls to seek higher education in those areas and pursue such occupations. Some of the key factors in this context are: facing gender stereotypes and prejudice, underestimation of women’s skills in STEM fields; exclusionary, non-supportive and inflexible male-dominating environments in STEM education and work; less focus on women role models in these areas- female engineers, computer scientists, and other factors. By applying for this project, we aim to address these needs and issues and meet the needs of the partnership, namely, the needs of experts to find ways to effectively promote and encourage the greater participation of women in STEM higher education and occupations, to motivate them to pursue such fields; to eliminate gender-based stereotypes and prejudices linked to their performance and concrete abilities as well doubts about their success, performance and future career development; to build a more supportive, tolerant and diverse STEM education environment for women. The needs of the target groups- women pursuing STEM higher education and career and those who hesitate and are discouraged to do so because of the constant underestimation of their abilities and skills, as well as experts (such as psychologists, trainers, youth workers, career counselors, etc.) working directly with them to increase their participation in STEM, will also benefit from the project.

 Objectives:

By implementing the project, we wish to achieve the following project objectives: making STEM higher education more supportive, diverse and socially inclusive for women in order promote and support their active participation in such fields;to improve their future career prospects, professional and personal development and opportunities on the modern labormarket; to increase the motivation of women to pursue and participate in education and career in STEM; to increase theirself-confidence in their abilities, skills and performance in these areas; to improve the knowledge and skills of experts(psychologists, trainers, youth workers, career counselors and advisers and other experts working directly with women)on how to eliminate gender-based stereotypes, bias and prejudices towards women in STEM; to create products that willaid the inclusion of women in STEM and to create a friendly learning environment in STEM higher education; to enhance the competencies of experts on how to develop and implement innovative STEM gender-sensitive educational programs and training acknowledging women’s specific challenges and enhance their inclusion; improved career guidance for women; to promote gender equality and equity in STEM fields. The objectives are linked to making STEM education more innovative, diverse and with a greater focus on effectively decreasing stereotypes and prejudices (incl. gender-based bias) towards women in STEM as they are often viewed as inferior to men in those areas. Another objective is to learn more about best European practices, innovative methods, instruments, tools and programs for effectively tackling stereotypes based on gender in STEM environments, making them more friendly to women and more welcoming, and also promoting good examples of women experts in STEM fields who can serve as a motivation for other women wishing to pursue STEM education or career, increasing their self-confidence in their own abilities, skills and knowledge, thus enhancing their performance in such fields.

Implementation:

We plan to implement the following activities:

1) Production of project results:

-Development and testing of programs aimed at motivating women for pursuing and participating in STEM higher education

-Development of a methodology for overcoming/eliminating / gender-based stereotypes towards women in STEM

-Research and analysis of good practices and examples of successful women experts in STEM fields

-Survey of the attitudes of future students – women in STEM or ICT fields of study and occupations (assessing the attitudes of schoolboys towards women in STEM (if there are any prejudices, gender-based stereotypes, etc.), and the attitudes of school girls towards STEM fields and their motivation to pursue education in STEM and ICT fields);

2) Multiplier events connected with the effective dissemination of the project results and products;

3) Transnational project meetings

4) Management and implementation

All these steps will ensure that the needs of the partnership (Bulgaria, The Republic of North Macedonia, Greece and Cyprus) and also the target groups- women and experts working directly with women to increase their participation in STEM higher education and occupations, have been successfully met.

Results:

The expected outcomes are connected with the products: -Development and testing of programs aimed at motivating women for pursuing and participating in STEM higher education; Development of a methodology for

overcoming/eliminating / gender-based stereotypes towards women in STEM; Research and analysis of good practices and examples of successful women-experts in STEM fields; Survey of the attitudes of future students – women in STEM or ICT fields of study and occupations,

The outcomes in the short-term (during the project) and long-term (after the completion of the project) include the

following: increased motivation of women to pursue and participate in education and career in STEM; increased selfconfidence in their abilities, skills and performance in these areas; improved knowledge and skills of experts

(psychologists, trainers, youth workers, career counselors) on how to eliminate gender-based stereotypes, bias and

prejudices towards women in STEM; creation of outputs which will aid the inclusion of women in STEM and the creation of an inclusive, diverse and friendly learning environment in STEM higher education; enhanced competencies of experts on how to develop and implement innovative STEM gender-sensitive educational programs and training acknowledging women’s specific challenges and enhance their inclusion; improved career guidance for women; promoting gender equality. As part of the project, it is planned that Multiplier events will be held focusing on each developed product to ensure effective dissemination of the results

 

“This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.” This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any of the information contained therein. “