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FHI 360 promotes STEM careers for girls and young women

September 06, 2016

In the next decade, the United States will need 1.7 million more engineers and computer scientists. Currently, just 12 percent of engineers are women, and the number of women in computing has fallen from 35 percent in 1990 to just 26 percent today. According to the National Research Center for College and University Admissions, only 20 percent of young women intend to major in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) field, compared to 50 percent of young men.

female student in science classTo address this gender gap, FHI 360 is partnering with Johnson & Johnson and the nonprofit youth organization Junior Achievement (JA) Worldwide to advance the education of young women and girls in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, manufacturing and design (STEM2D). The project was developed to inspire and educate girls between the ages of 5 and 18 in STEM2D-related studies through formal and informal education programs that promote creative problem-solving and play. The project aims to reach 1 million girls worldwide by 2020.

“We are committed to solutions that have positive, long-lasting effects on this generation and those to come. This collaboration allows us to reach young women and girls in new and unique ways,” said Ivan Charner, Director of FHI 360’s National Institute for Work and Learning. “Significant research and analytics show that building awareness and increasing girls’ knowledge and engagement will help influence their decision to enter STEM2D careers.”

This project is part of an extensive effort FHI 360 is making to support high-quality education by implementing project-based and work-based learning activities, providing young adults with opportunities that prepare them for successful college and career transitions. FHI 360 invests in multisector partnerships to prepare adolescents and young adults by assisting in building educational systems that include quality services and support designed to increase access and success. FHI 360’s objective is to develop practices that reach and promote learning to young women and girls through in-school and after-school settings, particularly in STEM2D business and education sectors.

Through the Women in STEM2D project, FHI 360 will develop curriculum and learning opportunities and will work with the partners to pair students with adult volunteers in STEM2D fields worldwide.

Photo credit: Jessica Scranton/FHI 360