In many places around the world, where someone is born and their socioeconomic background can determine the kind of education they receive – and as a result, their opportunities in life. Although strides have been made, there are still challenges to creating a world where access to quality education is a right for everyone. Through Education for Better, the Western Union Foundation is helping address these challenges through grants to NGO partners that focus on empowering women, youth, migrants and refugees through traditional and skills-based education. In the U.S., we teamed up with Education for Better Anchor Partner NAF, to support science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs that focus on increasing enrollment/retention of female high school students. Please read further to learn more about their efforts.
New NAF Video Breaks the Mold, Sets the Tone for the Future of Women in STEM
It's no secret that for girls and women, making their mark on the workforce is an uphill battle. Historically, they have been not represented in many high paying industries, and don’t make as much as their male counterparts. It's been said before and we’ll say it again. Something has to change. This February 11, on International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we are reminded of how important it is to celebrate the achievements of females in STEM and continue paving the way for future generations.
NAF serves approximately 55,000 students, 44% of them female, in STEM-related areas across the U.S. and is committed to providing equal opportunity for all students, regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic status.
Through the generous support and funding from The Western Union Foundation, NAF was able to go straight to the source – high school girls – and do some research into why girls don’t enter STEM careers. The knowledge gained was eye-opening and motivating, and ample proof that the narrative must be rewritten and another minute must not pass before taking action.
Below are accounts straight from NAF students at McKinley Technology High School in Washington, DC:
Angel Collins, a NAF Academy of Engineering student, has always had a love for math and producing products that help people. She is interested in pursuing a career in biomedical engineering and creating prosthetics for those in need. Among her role models is Mae Jemison, the first black female NASA astronaut to travel to space in 1992.
“I spent a lot of time thinking about where the women are in STEM,” she said. “Girls need someone to relate to!”
Karinton DeVille, is a junior in the Academy of Information Technology and has a passion for computer science. When it comes to making her mark in the industry, Karinton fearlessly says, “When you are coding, the computer doesn’t know if you are a boy or a girl.”
Through extensive student interviews in multiple cities, we got to work and created a dynamic new video that challenges audiences to open their minds about changing the face of the fastest-growing industry – one that is currently dominated by men – and creating a more inclusive future for all young people. Aligned with the Western Union Foundation goal of training 50,000 women and youth by 2020, this partnership is focused on finally closing the gender and skills gaps.
The video has already generated thousands of views on social media and has made a splash in the mainstream media. Its inspiring message has tremendously impacted students, teachers, business professionals, government, civic, and community members all across the United States.
Can we count on your commitment to be an ambassador who ensures the next generation of future leaders not only become “STEM ready,” but make history with tales of their courage, leadership, strength, and grit? Let’s do this together and witness our beautiful vision turn into reality. Share the video and visit NAF.org/STEM to join the movement today!