Cybersecurity and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are two of the hottest technology fields today, with job opportunities continuing to grow across both. However, worldwide, women make up less than 15 percent of the professionals in these high-tech jobs, and only one in 20 girls opts for a STEM-based career.
To help narrow the gender gap, Mastercard has been cultivating young technology enthusiasts as part of its signature education platform,Girls4Tech. Currently in its fifth year, this hands-on, inquiry-based STEM program has reached more than 400,000 girls (ages 8-12) in 25 countries, more than doubling its established 2017 goal. Today, as Mastercard marks the 5th anniversary of the program, the company builds on a successful track record of impact with an even more ambitious commitment to reach 1M girls by 2025.
Mastercard created Girls4Tech in April 2014 to inspire young girls to pursue STEM careers through a fun, engaging curriculum built around global science and math standards. The program incorporates Mastercard’s deep expertise in payments technology and innovation, and includes topics such as encryption, fraud detection, data analysis and digital convergence.
“Today we celebrate the 400,000 girls who gained new STEM skills through the Girls4Tech program and learned that a future in technology can and should include them,” says Susan Warner, senior vice president of Global Volunteerism at Mastercard. “We hope to have sparked many future careers in STEM fields, because gender parity in tech will ultimately make all companies – and our society at large – better and stronger.”
New Curriculum Unveiled
As technology skills continue to evolve, the Girls4Tech program is launching a new curriculum to give girls deeper exposure to the growing fields of cybersecurity and AI.
Furthermore, to continue the engagement with girls who have already participated in the program, Mastercard is launching Girls4Tech 2.0. Designed for older students, ages 13-16, the new program aims to keep girls excited about STEM throughout the critical high school years and also emphasizes important 21st century skills – such as collaboration, creativity and communication – as they work in teams to apply their technical knowledge to solve real-world challenges.
New Partnerships to Expand Reach and Narrow the Gender Gap in STEM Education
Girls4Tech works with a network of global partners to increase the reach and impact of its program.
· In the U.S., Mastercard and Scholastic will continue their partnership into 2020, building upon a successful first year. The custom, co-branded program will expand the Girls4Tech curriculum with new themes in privacy, AI and algorithms.
· In partnership with American Airlines, Mastercard will host its first Girls4Tech Takes Flight brainathon. The two-day event will challenge 50 girls to innovate solutions to humanitarian challenges outlined by the United Nations on gender equality; smart cities and sustainability; health and wellbeing; and quality education.
· In Ireland, in partnership with the golf organization R&A, Mastercard recently launched an evergreen golf-themed version of the program, where girls gain exposure to STEM through a deeper dive into the business and science of golf.
Impact Highlights from the First 5 Years
- To date, Girls4Tech has reached over 400,000 girls, with events in 25 countries and 6 continents.
- The program has engaged more than 3,800 employee mentors worldwide.
- Mastercard has created partnerships with Scholastic, Be Better China, Singapore Committee for UN Women, Major League Baseball, R&A, and Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship to further scale the program and offer STEM skills in unique ways to girls ages 8-12.
- The program has achieved global reach with the curriculum translated into 12 languages.