To celebrate International Women’s Day, Microsoft has launched the #MakeWhatsNext campaign which aims to encourage young women to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics estimates that only 23% of researchers in East Asia and the Pacific are women and only 35% of all students enrolled in STEM-related fields of study are women.
“We want to change the way young women view STEM by letting them envision how technology, science, engineering can be tools used to solve global challenges; how their interests today could turn into a job of the future,” said Daiana Beitler, philanthropies director, Microsoft Asia. “We’re inviting girls to explore their passions further and gain insights from LinkedIn on how to make their dream job a reality. To make it happen, we are introducing all girls, including those from underserved communities, to female role models from different industries as well as hands-on, purpose-driven experiences where STEM concepts are linked to real-life situations.”
Microsoft will be releasing a micro-film profiling five female role models from Asia who are using STEM to invent new ways to change the world. Among them, Melisha Ghimere, co-founder of Echo Innovators and Microsoft’s Imagine Cup finalist, has developed the FarmLi solution for farmers in Nepal, China, to better manage their livestock and increase food security.
In Singapore, Asia, over 140 secondary school girls and educators from 15 schools and non-profits will take part in DigiGirlz on 8 March. This event is designed to encourage participants to consider a future with STEM.
DigiGirlz will provide opportunities for participants to hear from women working in STEM-related industries, to envision their careers and acquire new skills. Wendy Johnstone, general manager, Marketing and Operations for Microsoft Asia Pacific, will moderate a panel discussion with Hooi Ling Tan, co-founder from Grab; Sipika Singh, director of business transformation, Johnson & Johnson; Ara Cho, data analyst from LinkedIn; Janice Lim, process technologist from Shell, and Soon Hyung Hwang, industry solutions executive from Microsoft.
“The stereotype that only men can excel in the tech and engineering industries is wrong. In this digital age, the future career opportunities will be in STEM, and we have a responsibility to encourage and support young women to follow this path,” said Johnstone. “By choosing a career in STEM, young women and men will achieve their true potential and help change the world.”