Microsoft inspires young girls to pursue careers in STEM

Girls cheering as they pose for the camera

Hyderabad, 25 April 2019: Microsoft celebrates #MakeWhatsNext, an initiative that encourages girls to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). This movement helps raise awareness of the issues that cause girls to drop out of or lose interest in STEM and aims to pique their excitement in how they can change the world if they stay engaged.

Microsoft engages with girls, their parents and teachers through various career coaching sessions and inspirational talks by industry leaders with an aim to expose girls to female role models, and engaging girls into hands-on activities where they use STEM skills to solve real-world challenges.

Dr. Daiana Beitler, Philanthropies Lead, Microsoft Asia on getting young women excited about STEM, “One of the reasons why young women do not identify with STEM is that they assume it does not align with their desire to be creative and make an impact in the world. However, there is a prime opportunity for teachers to break the misperception that STEM does not relate to the world at large. By designing computer science curricula around societal challenges and giving young women more exposure to female role models, teachers can make a huge difference in connecting their students’ passion to STEM.”

Globally, women are underrepresented in STEM. According to UNESCO, 29 percent of those in science research and development are women, with a low of 19 percent in South and West Asia and a high of 48 percent in Central Asia. In Asia Pacific, a recent survey conducted with YouGov highlighted that about a third of teachers (32 percent) have the mindset that girls’ lack of interest in computer science is the primary reason explaining their under-representation in the field, before other factors such as lack of parental support and issues with curricula not being applied to real-world applications.

With the MakeWhat’sNext campaign, Microsoft is enabling educators, parents and government to do more to ignite and foster young women’s interest in STEM during their formative years in school.  According to the Closing STEM gap research, a survey conducted by Microsoft, which looked at action steps for parents, teachers, nonprofit leaders and government, highlighted five key insights to encouraging girls to pursue STEM– (1) Provide role models, (2) Generate excitement, (3) Provide hands-on experience, (4) Provide encouragement, and (5) Encourage a growth mindset.

Dr. Daiana Beitler, Philanthropies Lead, Microsoft Asia on making STEM more accessible and interesting for all, “Although STEM-related skills play an increasingly vital role in shaping the world we live in and in solving some of our biggest societal challenges, only a fraction of young women are likely to pursue STEM in school and as a career. To achieve better gender balance in STEM, we are working with nonprofits and schools to build the capacity of educators on inclusive and gender-responsive computer science education so that all students, irrespective of their gender, are enabled to pursue their passion in STEM.”

Microsoft has over the years developed many programs and initiatives that encourage and generate excitement amongst young girls through hands-on computer and technology workshops, know-how about careers in technology, and interactions with women role models. Some of Microsoft’s initiatives are:

  • DigiGirlz Programs: A program through which students get an opportunity to interact with Microsoft employees and managers to gain exposure to careers in business and technology and to get an inside look at what it’s like to work at Microsoft. This exciting event provides girls with career planning assistance, information about technology and business roles, thought-provoking exercises, and interesting Microsoft product demonstrations. Microsoft DigiGirlz program empowers young women by equipping them with information about the variety of opportunities available in the high-tech industry and encourages them to explore future career paths.
  • CODESS: A global community for women coders to explore ways to promote gender diversity in the engineering field. CODESS reaffirms Microsoft’s commitment to empower girls by opening a window into a world of technology-related careers that help them solve the problems they care about the most. CODESS is an example of Microsoft’s external engagement with the community where it collaborates with women in the industry to grow in their careers. Microsoft recently hosted Codess India program in Hyderabad and Bangalore. The two-day curated event was aimed at identifying and mentoring some of the high potential female students from top tech schools at an early stage to enable them to excel in the field of technology. The program also creates an opportunity for young girls to experience a slice of the Microsoft life through leader addresses, networking opportunities and hands on technology workshops.
  • WISE: Our mentoring program WISE was started in 2014 with an aim to encourage women professionals in pursuing a successful career in the IT industry.

About Microsoft India

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @Microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. Microsoft set up its India operations in 1990. Today, Microsoft entities in India have over 9,000 employees, engaged in sales and marketing, research and development and customer services and support, across 11 Indian cities – Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, New Delhi, Gurugram, Noida, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune. Microsoft offers its global cloud services from local datacenters to accelerate digital transformation across Indian start-ups, businesses, and government agencies. In 2016, Microsoft opened one of its eight Cyber Security Engagement Centers in the country, to address security needs of both public and private sectors.

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