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Advancing Global Gender Equality and Empowerment in STEM

In the field of Artificial Intelligence, only one in five professionals (22%) are women, indicating a persistent gender gap across all levels of STEM disciplines. Embracing diversity in teams not only fosters fresh perspectives and creativity but also enhances economic mobility. Today presents an opportunity to underscore the vital role of women and girls in all facets of our societies. Let us spotlight initiatives aimed at advancing global gender equality and empowerment in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields.

Given the constraints introduced by the the pandemic, reaching students remains a paramount objective for every United Way project in Peru. Despite the challenges posed by hybrid learning, connectivity issues persist. Over the past three years, United Way Peru has spearheaded "Technology to Build a Dream," which tailors learning models to ensure inclusivity, particularly for girls. Schools are refining their digital skills to facilitate sustainable remote learning.

Alessandra Leverone, Executive Director at United Way Peru, explains, "Our intervention aims to enhance the digital skills of secondary school teachers and students, fostering functional and sustainable learning. Through various tools, teachers can create contextualized digital content to effectively engage students."

In Spain, the number of women pursuing STEM careers has declined by 24% since the 1980s. United Way Spain addresses this gender gap by collaborating with major technology firms to design STEM-focused workshops for high school girls, including initiatives like Science4All, TechMujeres, and Start with Coding. These programs empower participants to envision mobility changes through innovative projects tailored to their daily lives, such as installing CO2 meters in classrooms or exploring technological art and electronic music.

The digital divide exacerbates disparities, particularly among women from vulnerable communities, who lack access to computers, mobile phones, or internet connectivity. However, the objective is not merely to promote technology for its own sake but to foster critical awareness and equitable access. Teju Abisoye, VP Africa at United Way Worldwide, emphasized this during her participation in the Global Perspectives Initiative in Berlin, advocating for digital literacy and data access as fundamental human rights.

Empowering women and girls in STEM not only cultivates future skills but also creates pathways for leadership and workforce participation. An intersectional feminist perspective is crucial in defining equitable opportunities for future generations, transcending traditional gender boundaries.