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Mastercard extends free access to STEM curriculum for girls

02 Apr 2020

Mastercard and education firm Scholastic have expanded free access to Mastercard’s STEM curriculum designed for 8-12 year-old girls.

Girls4Tech aims to promote STEM subjects, including the recent updates in the areas of cybersecurity, encryption, fraud detection, data analysis and digital convergence, as well as artificial intelligence.

Those fields could encourage the next generation to pursue STEM careers like fraud detective, data scientist, and software engineer.

The program, now in its sixth year, has reached more than 800,000 students worldwide and more than 4400 employee mentors.

Girls4Tech programs also extend to girls aged 13-16 with Girls4Tech 2.0, as well as a 20-week coding program, Girls4Tech & Code for girls aged 8-10.

“We know that these are challenging times for parents and teachers on many fronts and hope that these learning resources are a fun way to engage and inspire kids about STEM while at home,” says Mastercard vice president of community engagement and founder of Girls4Tech, Susan Warner. 

According to 2020 figures from the World Economic Forum (WEF), females remain underrepresented in fields related to STEM. 

Furthermore, less than 30% of the world’s researchers are women. In central Asia 50% of researchers are women, however that drops to 18.5% in south and west Asia. In India, fewer than 15% of researchers are women and in Nepal, that number drops to single figures.

“Global female enrolment is particularly low in certain fields. Just 3% of students joining information and communication technology (ICT) courses across the globe are women. That improves slightly to 5% for mathematics and statistics courses. And it increases to 8% for engineering, manufacturing and construction courses,” states WEF.

Mastercard says new online and educational resources are now available through the Girls4Tech Connect website. Lessons are currently available in English, with additional Spanish and Chinese language content to follow in the coming weeks.

“The easy access to the website enhances what we’ve done in so many workshops. We look forward to building on both efforts when it’s once again safe to gather in person,” says Warner.

Mastercard has also partnered with Scholastic, Be Better China, Major League Baseball, Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), R&A and YCAB in Indonesia to further scale the program and offer STEM skills in unique ways to girls ages 8-16.

Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. The company has connections across more than 210 countries and territories. The company says that its mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible.