Stem and gender stereotypes: a focus on Erasmus +

Several interesting activities are foreseen for the first week of Erasmus mobility +, from the 20th to the 24th of September, in order to investigate, develop and comunicate, through transitional work groups, new perspectives tied to the STEM subjects and gender stereotypes .

Activities for the virtual mobility week

Working groups, comparison of personal experiences, development of opportunities and processing ideas for the development of new examples and new perspectives are the first steps that will carry on the Petranova International Secondary School girls , the Spanish pupils of the
Centro Educativo Arangoya Bilbao and the Czechoslovaks of the Základní škola a mateřská škola Parentes of Prague  during the  2021-2022 school year.
After the first few days dedicated to encounters and comparisons the focus of Virtual Mobility is on the elaboration of ideas for the creation of materials and projects that will represent the best way for our pupils to break through the gender stereotypes.
The value of role models
This insight was inspired by the encounter with Irene Cannistraci, role model of the Fondazione Mondo Digitale.
The meeting was part of the
Women in STEM cycle whose aim is that of proposing to young pupils direct testimony of women in STEM careers in order to sediment the opportunities that lie in Scientific studies . The European Girls in STEM – the European etude on the relationships between young women and scientific subjects, commissioned by Microsoft a KRC Research , that involved 11.500 girls and young women between 11 and 30 years of age in 12 European countries has demonstrated that:
  • having a role model in the STEM area increases self esteem in female pupils and increases the tendency of choosing a scientific study subject and career;
  • Having a figure to whom to refer to in scientific areas contributes to maintaining a live interest for the STEM disciplines. For the very youngest the support of successful professionals is therefore extremely important.

Encounter with Irene Cannistraci, Fondazione Mondo Digitale Role Model

The second meeting with Professor Cannistraci, already well-known to pupils and teachers, has actively involved pupils from the three schools through interactive questionnaires, energetically highlighting the awareness to the great number of discoveries in scientific studies brought forth by women and showing at the same time how the interactive modality and the models presented involve the pupils and can become the mirror of an evolving society thanks, especially, to the gender equality in STEM disciplines.

Objectives of the Erasmus + two year period

Among the existing stereotypes in the formative system of many European countries a significant one is that of a presumed scarce attitude of female pupils towards STEM disciplines, ( Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics),and this leads to a gender gap in these fields both in study courses, both initially in orientation and later on in the choice of careers.
The Erasmus + project| Isn’t She STEM? | Break the Stereotype! Empowering Program in STEM for Teen Girlssi proposes to discourage such a discriminative attitude and to promote instead social inclusion (horizontal priority) through educational and formative activities that are apt to remove differences in learning results among men and women (Gender Gap in STEM Fields).
Cefa schools of Rome, Základní škola a mateřská škola Parentes of Prague and Centro Educativo Arangoya di Bilbao are dedicating a two year period to mobility activities ( virtual and physical) with the aim of re-evaluating and increasing studies of scientific fields among young female teenagers, overcoming gender stereotypes too often tied to STEM subjects and promoting gender equality.
Specifically the project aims to:
  • Improve access and participation to STEM subjects curriculums of girls in the 11 to 16 age range
  • Share good practices and develop new ones aimed to “Teaching strategies to engage females in STEM”, promoting the insertion of a specific ST(A)M CURRICULUM in the teaching plan of the three participating institutes.
  • Develop and improve English language learning and improve the pupils’ L2 communicative skills through exchange activities and transnational cooperation projects that foresee the development of a final product.
Special emphasis will be given to integrated educational structured paths based on the subject contents conveyed in a foreign language (CLIL&STEAM).
–develop acknowledgment and respect for others through learning activities in an international context aimed to the acquisition of social, intercultural and civic skills.
Activities are based on the creation of a strong social relation among the students of the participating countries. Therefore their fulfillment is tied to frequent exchanges between pupils and teacher of the participating countries, events that take place on the
eTwinning platform combined to the physical mobility of the students themselves!