This post has been adapted from its original publication on TeachForNepal.org
Globally, women are entering bachelor’s and master’s degree programs at the same levels as men, but the UNESCO Institute of Statistics finds that women are far less likely to pursue careers in STEM. UNESCO suggests that women hold less than 30% of jobs in STEM, which encompasses the fastest-growing and highest-paying professional fields, particularly in low-and-middle income economies. To address this issue, Teach For Nepal alumni Astha Khatri, Milan Kumar Sardar Tharu, Shina Shrestha, and Richa Neupane organized the three-day workshop “Udeshya - Girls in STEM” for their Teach For All Global Girls' Education Fellowship project.
“The main aim of the workshop was to break the stereotype of people towards girls and to give girls exposure in science, technology, engineering, and math,” said Richa. “We wanted to ensure that girls from all backgrounds living in rural parts of Nepal have access to STEM education and to the dream of becoming an engineer, doctor, or tech entrepreneur.”
The three-day program hosted 20 students from eight public schools in districts where Teach For Nepal is working. Activities included building robots, using Microsoft Powerpoint and Word, how to search on Google, and sending and receiving emails. The hands-on interactive workshop also involved a series of problem-solving activities. Students learned how creativity and ingenuity can be used in the classroom, and how knowledge of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) can lead to rewarding engineering careers.
“Through the Udeshya - Girls in STEM workshop, girls were able to build confidence in themselves and know that their ideas are powerful and valuable,” explained Shina. “It also provided exposure to girls, particularly those in underrepresented minorities, to jobs in high-growth industries, advancing economic opportunities for girls, their families, and their communities.”
During the workshop, the alumni guided students through an experiential STEM-based curriculum, where the students applied their own special skills, as well as math and science concepts they learned in school to solve real-life challenges.
“The girls learned to work in a group, learned values of life, and were able to build confidence through the sessions,” said Astha. “Our goal was to empower girls to contribute their ideas in order to solve Nepal’s thorniest problems and we wanted to start by strengthening their foundations in STEM. When girls are equipped to change our nation, they will.”
For more information about Udeshya - Girls in STEM, visit its Facebook page
Learn more about Teach For All's Global Girls' Education Initiative and Global STEM Initiative