W-STEM, fostering women’s participation into STEM programs

05 December 2019

From November 25 to 29 the partners of the W-STEM project - Building the future of Latin America: engaging women into STEM - met for the second time in Cartagena and Barranquilla. This project aims to improve strategies and mechanisms for attraction, access, orientation and retention of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics - STEM - in Latin America.

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The work week began in Cartagena, at the Technological University of Bolívar, with the W-STEM International Leadership Summit convoking experts in gender equity in STEM fields, decision makers, senior managers and representatives of European and Latin American universities and international organizations. Alessandro Bello, UNESCO representative and consultant for UN Women, gave the conference: "" The problem of low participation of women in STEM worldwide and its impacts in Latin America."

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The summit continued with a discussion on experiences of adoption of gender equity policies in Higher Education institutions in which Terri Scott, from the National Regional College (United Kingdom), Anita Tabacco (Torino Polytechnic) and Sari Harmonen, (Oulu University) participated. In addition, partner universities shared the results of the self-assessment done at the institutional level in preparation for the next two years of the project implementation. In order to define the future actions of the project, the universities met in work teams to specify the actions to be implemented by Work Packages in the coming years to meet the objectives of the project.

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In Barranquilla, project partners shared their experiences in a Benchmarking round in which they presented good institutional practices in policies to promote access and retention of women in STEM programs. The meeting ended with the construction of an action plan and an institutional roadmap that will seek in the next two years to improve access, recruitment and retention of women in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics programs in the institutions participating in the project.

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