Sergey Tokarev expresses his views on STEM is FEM initiative
STEM is FEM is a program initiated by Sergey Tokarev to deal with the gender imbalance in the STEM-related fields. Gender imparity is a global issue that is boosted by stereotypes in our societies. Many people think that IT is not a good field for females. There is only a 30% participation of women in IT at the global level. In Ukraine, the IT industry has 15-35% of female specialists.
Gender Imbalance Stereotypes
There are various reasons behind the less number of females in the IT industry. The Ukrainian society is suffering from wrong stereotypes related to the male and female professions. There is a fear in the mind of schoolgirls due to these stereotypes. The families and schools are pressurizing females in terms of entering STEM as a professional. Most people think that STEM is a non-female field when it comes to career development. Sergey Tokarev says that it is a wrong and outdated perception as gender balance is the requirement of time in IT.
“I faced this problem in my own IT projects. The gender balance in a company always has a positive effect on business, it allows you to look at projects from different points of view and find more unique solutions,” notes Sergey Tokarev. In order to deal with this fear and existing stereotypes, he initiated STEM is FEM.
STEM is FEM-How does it work?
STEM is FEM organizes educational modules for high school girls in Ukraine. Each module holds some important events for two days including motivational and industry-related lectures, workshops, enterprise tours, and creative competitions. The winners of creative competitions get useful prizes as well.
Motivational Lectures: STEM is FEM invites professional females from a specific industry based on the module. The past modules have been attended by leading businesswomen, politicians, ambassadors, and top representatives of global organizations. The leading females give motivation lectures to the participants to help them overcome their fear of entering STEM as a specialist.
Industry-related Lectures: The female leaders and employees from various industries give lectures to the module participants. In the past, the employees of Google, Global Logic, robotic firms, agriculture startups, and mechanical engineering firms have attended the STEM is FEM modules.
The Ukrainian schoolgirls have toured high-class enterprises including Kyiv Electric, Global Logic, and BMW Showroom under STEM is FEM. They also have developed various creative projects including social distancing-related benches by using 3D printing, bicycle stations with additional features, and extended robotic functions. The competition winners get prizes from STEM is FEM in the form of industry-related courses.
Apart from these modules, the program organizes different awareness and educational events to combat gender imbalance. “Together with the Goethe Institute in Ukraine, we have launched an on-going reading club that allows its members to discuss novels from a scientific perspective,” adds Sergey Tokarev. Moreover, STEM is FEM organizes training, workshops, and educational meetings for the participants. The participants get motivation, education, and awareness from these initiatives. It will surely help them to become women in STEM in the future. The main purpose of STEM is FEM is to boost women’s participation in IT-related fields. The Reface investor and initiator of the project is hopeful for the further success of this program.