In Argentina, more women are needed in STEAM careers

In Argentina, more women are needed in STEAM careers
February 12, 2024 – 12:51

In Latin America and the Caribbean, women represent less than 30% of the total number of those dedicated to scientific research.

Photo: Pixabay

Each beginning of the school year invites us to reflect on how education can be the way to generate a more inclusive, fair and sustainable world for all people. In a challenging context, in which the global economy, the environmental impact and wars dominate the political agendas, it is essential to bring to each educational space, formal or non-formal, proposals so that creativity and empathy allow us to build global solutions and thus working together to save the world.

This month, from Learning by Helping we contribute our view so that, in the International Day of Women and Girls in Science (February 11), we can understand that science is a key path to do so, and it needs all our attention, creativity and efforts. Because? In Latin America and the Caribbean, women represent less than 30% of the total of those dedicated to scientific research.

Likewise, regarding registration in STEAM races At the level of higher education, women represent only 34% in Argentina, 25% in Chile, 30% in Brazil, and 38% in Mexico, to name a few of the countries. However, there are actions throughout the region that allow us to know that efforts to reduce gender gaps in the sciences are underway.

For example, according to a UNESCO report, of the 119 initiatives surveyed that are developed in a single country, Brazil stands out with more than a third of what was surveyed (48 initiatives). None of the other countries exceeds 10 initiatives. Argentina, Colombia and Uruguay present at least 9 initiatives. At the other extreme, in Honduras only one was identified, and in Guatemala and Nicaragua only 2 in each case.

On the other hand, the World Economic Forum points out that 65% of jobs of the future will require STEAM skills. Promoting STEAM skills in the classroom is essential. Beyond what students choose for their future. The abilities STEAM They are essential to solving the problems of the 21st century, and all students, regardless of gender, should have the opportunity to develop them. It is at this point where those who educate have a fundamental role.

A call to action

To achieve true gender equality in science, a joint effort between different social actors is necessary: ​​governments, educational institutions, families and society in general. We are convinced that there will not be profound changes if we do not contemplate the fundamental role that educators have when sowing seeds of change in each student.

That is why we designed a totally free Teaching Certification in Social Innovation for Sustainable Development. The objective of this training is to provide them with tools so that their teaching practices are those that allow boys and girls to reach their greatest potential, while also offering them the possibility of understanding the impact of their actions in the world.

Along these lines, our objective is that those who have the important mission of teaching can:

  • Incorporate the gender perspective in education to eliminate biases and stereotypes, and promote female role models in STEAM. From our teacher training methodology, we address SDG 5 Gender equality in a transversal way, starting from case analysis to the perspective used, we seek to facilitate teaching with a gender perspective, eliminating biases and stereotypes.
  • Promote STEAM skills in the classroom through innovative and attractive methodologies. It is key that each student understands that they learn by doing and that they lose the fear of failing. When creating projects with students and teachers, Learning by Helping is precisely about giving them the tools to explore and be encouraged to problematize their concerns or those issues that require putting all their creativity into play to think of alternatives, test solutions, try, fail, try again.
  • Enhance creativity and empathy to form responsible citizens committed to the world. We cannot obtain results by always doing the same thing. In order to address these problems we need to get closer to those who are affected by a circumstance or context. In this way, empathy leads us to put ourselves in the shoes of others and allows us to analyze problems from their perspective. Creativity is the condition that allows us to question what is known and build something new, sustainable and fair for all people.

Where to start reducing the gaps?

  • Access to quality education: While progress has been made in girls’ education, a gender gap still exists in access to quality education in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics). According to UNESCO, in Latin America and the Caribbean, girls are less likely than boys to enroll in secondary education in STEAM areas. In 2020, only 28% of girls enrolled in upper secondary education in Latin America and the Caribbean did so in STEAM, compared to 38% of boys.
  • Gender perspective: It is necessary to incorporate the gender perspective in a comprehensive way in education to eliminate the biases that condition girls to stay away from STEAM careers. A study conducted by UN Women in 2019 revealed that gender stereotypes and the lack of female role models in STEAM are two of the main factors influencing girls’ decisions about their professional future.
  • Creativity and empathy: Enhancing creativity and empathy in the classroom is essential so that future generations can address the world’s challenges with innovative and sustainable solutions. Science is not only about logic and data, but also about creativity and imagination.

Only through a joint and sustained effort can we ensure that girls and women have the same opportunities as men to develop their potential in the scientific field. Together we can build a more just and equal future; education is the way; teaching is the key!

Project Manager & Development at Learning by Helping.

Source: Ambito

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