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Women in STEM Q2 2022

Boosting STEM mentoring is helping to promote gender balance

iStock / Getty Images Plus / artbesouro

Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon

CEO, Stemettes

By mentoring young women considering a career in STEM, we are helping to redress the gender imbalance across industries.

Are we creating an effective flow of young women going into STEM-related sectors? We are doing better, but there is still so much work to be done.

At Stemettes, we show girls, young women and non-binary young people that STEM fields are options for them as a career choice. One of the ways we do this is by allowing them to meet STEM role models at our events and the opportunity to be mentored by women working in STEM sectors who are experts in their field. Seeing is believing after all.

“I’ve learned so much already from my mentor, from the active community and from all of the events that have been running. I feel so supported. It’s opened my eyes to many new possibilities and made me learn so much more about myself,” explains 17-year-old mentee, Alibhe.

We need to do more to boost the self-esteem of our young folk.

STEM mentoring in action

For our initiative in Ireland, we run a special mentoring scheme called the Student to Stemette programme supported by the Avantor Foundation. We know that the teenage years are a crucial time for young women in terms of developing self-confidence, their perceptions of STEM subjects and career pathways they may consider pursuing in the future. Stemettes regularly collects data from all our participants to act, reflect and adapt. We know that if we engage young girls and non-binary people in their formative years and allow them to join a supportive STEM community with the right role models, they are more likely to carry on into STEM pathways in the future.

STEM exposure

Our aim is to develop STEM capital, encourage young women to explore all their options and have access to up-to-date field knowledge across academia, industry and entrepreneurship. We need to do more to boost the self-esteem of our young folk and encourage them to pursue ambitious career pathways in STEM. If we want to equip young people with both aptitude and a passion for STEM we need to support them effectively whilst they are in prime learning mode.

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