WiTEC Newsletter Nº 32 ~ July 2018 


The European Association for Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

WiTEC the Netherlands

is represented by VHTO, the Dutch national expert organization on girls/women and science/technology. VHTO has been building up knowledge about the participation of girls and women in the world of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), and experience in deploying this knowledge in areas such as education since the early 1980s.

VHTO uses research-based interventions that have proven successful in previous years, and developed them into a strong combination of activities for girls and women throughout the entire chain of education (from primary to higher and vocational education), training programmes for teachers and career advisers, and consultations with school/education managers.

VHTO is also partner in two European projects (funded by Erasmus+ programme of the European union), the Gender4STEM-project and the Engendering-project.


Gender 4 STEM aims to tackle the low representation of girls in STEM and subsequently women in STEM careers. One of the reasons why STEM disciplines are unappealing to girls might be persistent stereotypes.

In order to spark greater interest in STEM disciplines among girls, the Gender 4 STEM project focuses on the creation of an e-learning platform where educational and awareness-raising materials can be uploaded for use by secondary-level teachers (of pupils aged 11 to 18). As part of a co-creation model bringing together partners from five participating European countries, the project seeks to develop reference materials, tools and content enabling staff to teach these high-potential subjects and also ensure a better gender balance. The content includes awareness-raising campaigns, lesson plans, quizzes, videos, and so on. The digital platform will also include a self-assessment tool so that teachers can take stock of their own gendered education practices. Depending on each teacher's profile, the tool will recommend learning content to help them better manage gender diversity in their classrooms.

The platform, tools and content produced at the end of the project will be made available to all teachers on http://www.gender4stem-project.eu/en/outputs/. Training and awareness courses for teachers will also be developed and taught. They aim to boost uptake of the platform but also to contribute to teaching that fosters gender diversity across the scientific disciplines. In the long run, the project hopes to increase the number of girls who choose to STEM education and plan STEM careers.

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The first diagnostic assessment has been written by the project and has been published. 

THE REPORT SHOWS that the five partner countries, Greece, Hungary, Italy, The UK and Sweden have a very different history when it comes to migration. However there are lots of similarities in the needs of the migrant women.

The women interviewed in the Consortium shared two important resources that are crucial in fostering a positive labour market inclusion (and social inclusion in the receiving country more broadly): the ability to adapt to a new environment and resilience.

These two psychological resources represent important protecting factors against vulnerability. Structural – and sometimes overwhelming – barriers, though, can undermine them. 

MOST OF THE migrant women who participated in the Qualitative Needs Assessment carried out at the Consortium level reported that it is quite hard to understand how the labour market works in the receiving country: finding a job is a job in itself that requires active job search techniques that most of the women interviewed feel they lack. Moreover, it is challenging for them to accede proper recruiting channels. In this regard, both migrant women and professionals identified networking with “natives” as crucial in fostering job finding: many migrant women have few opportunities to establish relationships with native peers and lack professional role models.

WHILE WOMEN ACKNOWLEDGED that improving their communication skills would help them succeeding in job finding, professionals pointed out that training on “how to realise a good job interview” could be necessary for women who are not familiar with those unwritten norms informing social interactions typical of the work domain in the receiving country.

BOTH MIGRANT WOMEN and professionals identified improving self-efficacy and self-esteem as important factors in fostering a positive labour market inclusion. In the long end, repeated negative experiences in the receiving country, as well as failures in job finding can affect women’s perception that their efforts will help them pursuing their purposes, undermining their resilience and coping strategies.

AS FAR AS professionals are concerned, stress management emerged as a major issue: structural barriers (such as bureaucratic and legal constraints) and daily interactions with vulnerable beneficiaries may eventually trigger burnout processes. Moreover, many professionals pointed out their weakness in leadership, couching and mentoring skills levels, as well as the need to improve their knowledge on active job search techniques to better support the beneficiaries they work with.




Wish you all a wonderful summer!

www.witeceu.com  ~  secretariat@witeceu.com
Next newsletter will be published in October 2018.

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