STEM is FEM was initiated by Sergey Tokarev, a Reface investor, in 2019 to address the key issue of gender imbalance in the fields related to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). The program has completed its first year with some achievements. The program initiator talked about the program and its achievement during the first year.
STEM is FEM, a Program to Target Gender Imbalance
Sergey Tokarev realized the fact that there was a huge gender imbalance in the Ukrainian IT-sphere. The number of women working in this sphere is still close to one-third of the number of total workers. It is a global issue that is needed to be addressed as soon as possible. There is a need for collaborative efforts at the global level to destroy gender stereotypes. According to the stereotypes existing in the STEM-related fields, women are not suitable for the It development jobs. However, it is not true at all.
The STEM is FEM program deals with organizing free-educational STEM-related modules for the Ukrainian schoolgirls. During the first year, the charity initiative organized seven modules. More than 200 schoolgirls participated in them. The modules allowed them to attain knowledge in the field of IT, biotechnology, mechanical engineering, robotics, 3D modelling and printing, and others. As a result of these modules, the Ukrainian schoolgirls designed various projects including disinfection robots, benches to practice social distancing, and innovative bike stations.
Most of the modules were organized in Kyiv during the first year. Each module included lectures, creative activities, and a filed visit. Sergey Tokarev noted, “During the offline modules, our participants visited the aviation museum, the genetic laboratory, the hydrometeorological institute, the dispatch service of Kyiv Electric Networks, as well as GlobalLogic, Beetroot, and a BMW car showroom.” The project moved to online modules in Spring 2020 amid COVID-19 concerns.
A Key Success Factor of STEM is FEM
Along with specialist in their respective fields, each module includes motivational speakers to allow the girls to get aspiration and motivation. According to Sergey Tokarev, the girls need motivation importantly as it is one of the main keys to success in every field of life. They talk to the motivational speakers to get confidence in their abilities.
“We let our participants meet successful female ambassadors, ministers, and top managers so that the girls get more faith in themselves,” noted Reface investor. STEM is FEM is not limited to the modules. It also organizes various other events for the Ukrainian schoolgirls including meetings with female scientists, webinars, workshops, visits to embassies, and many more. The Goethe Institute cooperated with STEM is FEM to create a youth reading club, LitMINT. The main aim of all these events and activities is to encourage girls to choose career paths leading to the tech sectors.
After achieving various key goals in the first year, STEM is FEM is entering its second year. The program plans to introduce girls to the artificial intelligence, space, agro-industry, and many other STEM-related fields. According to Sergey Tokarev, the next module is scheduled to be held on December 12-13. Conclusively, he urged the global organizations and leaders to take steps to address the gender imbalance in STEM-related fields. “The problem of gender imbalance in STEM is global. And it can only be solved by joint efforts,” he said.