Sergey Tokarev, the creator of STEM is FEM and a Reface investor, shared his thoughts on the completion of the first of the charity initiative. According to him, the aim of the project is to destroy the existing stereotypes of gender imbalance in the Ukrainian IT field. He called it a “global issue” that is needed to be addressed through global collaboration.
The First Year of STEM is FEM
Sergey Tokarev initiated the program in the fall of 2019 after realizing a huge gender imbalance in the field of IT. The aim of STEM is FEM is to introduce Ukrainian schoolgirls to various fields of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). The purpose of this introduction is to boost their interest in pursuing a career in the STEM-related areas. The project engages Ukrainian schoolgirls in 2-day free educational modules related to the different sectors of STEM.
In the first year, the project organized seven modules in which over 200 students from all across Ukraine participated. Under these modules, the schoolgirls were introduced to information technology, biotechnology, robotics, ecology and energy, mechanical engineering, and various other related fields. As a result of these modules, the Ukrainian school girls developed various robots, innovative benches to ensure social distancing, and enhanced bike stations.
For each module, field visits were organized to show the practical implications of offline lectures delivered by women specialists. “During the offline modules, our participants visited the aviation museum, the genetic laboratory, the hydrometeorological institute, the dispatch service of Kyiv Electric Networks, as well as GlobalLogic, Beetroot, and a BMW car showroom, where schoolgirls could gain first-hand knowledge about tech processes,” said Sergey Tokarev. However, the offline modules turned into online modules in Spring 2020 when the coronavirus outbreak occurred across the world.
Each module allowed participants to talk to the motivational personalities from different notable fields of life including business, government, diplomacy, and politics. According to Sergey Tokarev, motivation is one of the most important keys to success. “We let our participants meet successful female ambassadors, ministers, and top managers so that the girls get more faith in themselves,” he added.
Along with these modules, STEM is FEM made various friends during the first year including American House Kyiv, the Goethe Institute in Ukraine, BMW Ukraine, GlobalLogic, the UN, Beetroot and many more. The Reface investor appreciated the support and help they got from these organizations.
STEM is FEM enters its Second Year
During the second year, the STEM is FEM program will focus on artificial intelligence, space, and other STEM-related areas. After the end of the coronavirus pandemic, the program will move back to offline modules. The next module is scheduled to take place on December 12-13. The topic of this module is related to the agro-industry. Sergey Tokarev called for ‘global efforts’ to address the issue of gender imbalance in the STEM-related industries. He added, “The problem of gender imbalance in STEM is global. And it can only be solved by joint efforts.” At the moment, the number of women working in the IT sector is merely a third of the total workers. There is still a long way to go to reach the ultimate goal of ending gender stereotypes.