Mastercard’s signature science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programme, Girls4Tech, has reached its initial goal of educating one million girls. The programme has a new and inspiring ambition to reach five million girls by 2025.
The programme, which launched in 2014, offers activities and curriculum built on global science and math standards. It incorporates Mastercard’s deep expertise in technology and innovation, enabling students to discover a range of STEM careers, such as fraud detective, data scientist and software engineer.
Starting as a hands-on, in-person session run by employee volunteers, the programme has expanded into new topics such as artificial intelligence and cybersecurity, and enhanced access to its STEM curriculum through a digital learning experience, Girls4Tech Connect, which has been translated into eight languages.
Susan Warner, vice president of talent and community engagement and founder of Girls4Tech, said, “Our goal is to build foundational STEM knowledge and develop critical 21st century skills girls need for their studies and career success. Our programme sparks their curiosity in STEM and teaches them real-world applications of those skills.”
The Girls4Tech workshops hosted in Cape Town and Johannesburg, together with Girls4Tech Connect, have inspired thousands of young South African girls to build the skills they need for STEM careers.
“Driving inclusion, and equal opportunity are key priorities at Mastercard. Our aim with this programme is to inspire girls to not only pursue an interest in STEM studies, but also to ensure that STEM career opportunities are reachable for them too. STEM skills are not only critical for building their confidence for technology careers but also upskilling women to ensure that they have a voice in the development of the products and services of the future,” said Suzanne Morel, Country Manager, South Africa at Mastercard
How Girls4Tech reaches future STEMinists:
- Announced a new partnership to create a Girls4Tech digital curriculum with Discovery Education — the global leader in standards-aligned digital curriculum resources, engaging content, and professional learning for K-12 classrooms — to reach 1.6 million girls by 2023.
- Partnering with other global and national organizations such as Scholastic, AIF, Major League Baseball, Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), R&A, YCAB in Indonesia and Arus in Malaysia to further scale the program and offer STEM skills in unique ways to girls ages 8-16.
- Adding new curriculum to give students deeper exposure to the growing fields of cybersecurity and AI.
- Launching new programmes like Girls4Tech 2.0 for girls ages 13-16, and Girls4Tech & Code, a 20-week coding program for girls 8-10.
Moving the needle for Girls in STEM
In 2019, Mastercard commissioned a study to understand gender and generational differences surrounding perceptions and attitudes of STEM-based topics and programs. It also explored challenges and motivations students cited for pursuing college majors and careers path.
The study showed that females are less confident, receive less encouragement and need more mentors in STEM. Mastercard’s Girls4Tech programme provides each of those elements to young women.
To learn more about Girls4Tech and access the online lessons, please visit Girls4Tech Connect.