Science, technology, engineering and math – also known as STEM subjects – have never been more important.
Research has shown that we currently have a shortage of up to 500,000 digital workers, and yet, only 36 percent of STEM graduates are women. Of those, only 25 percent are actually in STEM careers. In Europe specifically, women make up only 12 percent of talent in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). In general, the US has twice the AI labor force of Europe, and 50 percent of AI talent in Europe is concentrated in just three countries. This all needs to change
Research from Microsoft has shown that young women in Europe lose interest in STEM subjects by the time they’re 15 years old. One of the key reasons for this dissociation was found to be a lack of real-world practical applications of STEM learnings. In other words, students aren’t being given enough opportunities in STEM subjects to explore their creativity and clearly see the impact that these subjects can have.
If we can encourage more girls to pursue their interests in STEM, we can begin to close the gender gap while also increasing the amount of much-needed AI talent. All it takes is a spark of inspiration…
Alice envisions the future is a unique program run by Microsoft in partnership with Avanade and Accenture which allows high school girls around the world to develop their understanding of Artificial Intelligence (AI) – the world’s leading technology in terms of its potential for building a better future.
Named after Alice’s inspirational and curiosity-driven adventures in Wonderland, participants are treated to workshops led by industry experts, in addition to receiving help from Microsoft, Avanade and Accenture mentors to develop their own projects, before pitching them to a panel of judges.
“When we look at the gender gap among AI workers, it makes me think that we really need to do something,” says Ana Maria Stanciuc, EMEA Education Marketing Lead at Microsoft. “Events like this help teach girls to trust their imagination, to believe in their ideas, and to show that there are no limits.
“Having different mentors helping them with design-lead thinking, technical and business skills is an incredible resource. Ultimately, Alice envisions the future is an event that aims to close the gap in STEM fields, while giving girls the right tools to discover the possibilities that await them.”
The event has so far taken place in Athens, Bucharest and Warsaw, as well as crossing the Atlantic to New York, Seattle, and San Francisco. While further events have been put on hold due to COVID-19 lockdowns, that doesn’t mean you still can’t get involved.
STEM adventures, at home
The Alice envisions the future DigiGirlz AI Class is a resource providing access to a collection of tutorials, games and technological resources designed to equip you with the knowledge and the skills you need to apply this technology in real life.
If you have grand ideas about the future and would love to implement them one day, the resources below are a great place to start. No prior coding experience is required – only endless curiosity and determination.