Scope: The European Commission adopted on 01 April 2019 the work programme for 2019 and the financing of Pilot Projects and Preparatory Actions in the field of “Communications Networks, Content and Technology” (C(2019) 2233 final).
The Communication ‘Strengthening European Identity through Education and Culture‘, the Commission’s contribution to the EU Leader’s Agenda discussion on education and culture at the Gothenburg Summit, sets out a vision for a European Education Area and announced a dedicated Digital Education Action Plan.
Closing the gender gap through digital and entrepreneurship education is one of the actions under the second priority of the Digital Education Action Plan: Developing relevant digital competences and skills for the digital transformation, and is vital if Europe is to fully embrace the benefits of the digital revolution. While both girls and boys have similar levels of interest and competence in digital technologies, fewer girls go on to develop this interest in their studies or for their career. Girls and young women require positive examples, role models and support to overcome stereotypes and realise that they too can embark on a fulfilling and successful career in ICT and STEM. Increasing female participation in these careers will help unleash Europe’s digital potential and ensure that women take an equal place in shaping the digital world. In the EU fewer than one in five ICT professionals are female.
The aim of this action is to promote and teach Science, Engineering, Technology and Maths subjects (STEM) to girls in attractive and engaging ways, with a view to addressing the ongoing skills gap in the STEM sectors within the EU and especially the shortfall of women & increasing STEM drop-out rates of girls.
The underlying rationale is also to empower girls to learn and encourage them to become leaders in tech.
This aim is going to be achieved through a two-fold action.
Firstly, a network of schools, universities, high education institutions and companies will be set up. It will serve as a platform to support the advancement of girls in STEM education and careers, to exchange best practices and to raise awareness of girls all over Europe concerning the full spectrum of education and training options.
Secondly, no-cost summer camps for 13-18 year-old girls (typically 1 or 2 weeks long) will be designed to introduce middle and high school girls to a broad range of STEM subjects, in particular software engineering principles and programming languages. The experiences and insights collected in the course of the summer camps and other actions will be used by the network to provide recommendations and a set of ready-to-use guidelines available for reproduction of the events at local level.
The network between schools, universities, companies will result in:
- across Europe, consolidation of the actors who have an interest in more girls in STEM;
- consolidation and dissemination of best practice strategies to involve more girls in STEM;
- raised societal awareness of the need to attract more girls to STEM.
The summer program will reach all EU countries, serving 1,000+ middle and high school girls, many of whom come from under-represented backgrounds and will result in:
- fewer stereotypes among girls when choosing their secondary education and/or career and interest in new professional profiles;
- increased interest of girls in science, technology, engineering and maths;
- engagement with STEM and learning to code;
- strengthened abilities, boosted confidence and empowerment of girls to achieve success in STEM studies and career.
The total budget earmarked for the co-financing of projects under this call for proposals is estimated at EUR 350.000 (three hundred thousand euros).