STEM4Girls: Balancing the gender equation through education

Women in science are leading ground-breaking research and development projects across the world. But despite their remarkable work, women still represent less than 30% of researchers worldwide, and only 35% of STEM students in higher education are women, according to the United Nations. As the world hurtles toward a future threatened by climate change, resource scarcity, and growing populations, the global scientific community must lose no time in bridging the gender gap. At Covestro, we’re pushing boundaries to help balance the gender equation through education projects and social outreach around the world.

As a company, we believe the wider the perspectives, the bigger the ideas. And we’re proud to be a champion of diversity and equality at all of our facilities. But we also engage ourselves in equality and equal education initiatives beyond the limits of our company.

Since 2014, we have been working together with the “Greenlight for Girls” organization to promote STEM education around the globe. This initiative is designed to wipe out barriers in science and encourage young female students to never give up on their dreams, no matter how far out of their comfort zone their dreams may be.

Closing the gender gap in scientific fields requires tapping into girls’ creativity, providing encouragement, and connecting STEM education to real-world examples. That’s why our STEM programs rely on fun, hands-on activities, thought-provoking discussions, and female Covestro role models to encourage young women to get excited about science, technology, engineering, and math.

“One girl can change her life. One girl can change a family. And one girl can change a nation.”

Dr. Pallavi Deshmukh

Covestro Scientist and STEM4Girls volunteer.

Through educating our students on the diverse opportunities in STEM, we hope to empower these girls to study science or tech in college and pursue a future career in these fields.

The moral case for gender equality in STEM is clear. And balancing the gender equation is vital to achieving many of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, such as #4 “Education for All” and #5 “Gender Equality.”

The economic case is equally obvious: Amidst the complexities of the digital industrial future, companies and countries that cannot close the gender gap will not succeed. Therefore, investing in the education of today's women is in line with on our international strategy calling for profitable and sustainable business.

STEM4Girls growth in India

In India, our educational initiatives have already seen considerable progress. In 2016, our first STEM4Girls program brought together 100 girls in Delhi. By 2019, our Indian colleagues were working with over 3,000 enthusiastic girls across six cities! By educating these women today, we firmly believe we are helping revolutionize the society of tomorrow.

"By taking small steps, we can achieve big goals. The first small step we are taking is trying to develop our society. That same society will develop another society and so on. A chain reaction will form, and we can contribute to sustainability."

Dr. Pallavi Deshmukh

Covestro Scientist and STEM4Girls volunteer.

Although we’re already seeing our efforts begin to pay off, there is still much more to be done to achieve true gender equality in STEM fields. But we remain determined and are continuing to push boundaries to make this vision a reality. One day, we will live in a world where all children have the opportunity to study STEM subjects, women receive adequate support to balance the responsibilities of being a researcher and mother, and scientists are judged only by the potential of their discoveries to make our world a brighter place.

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