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Uruguay promotes national workshops to promote the inclusion of girls and adolescents in science and technology

Uruguay promotes national workshops to promote the inclusion of girls and adolescents in science and technology

According to data from Uruguay's National Institute of Statistics (INE), women represent only about 30 per cent of those graduating in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) related careers in higher education. This gender disparity persists in specific sectors such as technology and engineering, where women constitute a minority compared to men.

 

In an effort to strengthen the equitable inclusion of girls and adolescents in the field of science and technology, the National Public Education Administration (ANEP) of Uruguay, in collaboration with the European Union's EUROsociAL programme and the Uruguayan Agency for International Cooperation (AUCI), has organised two national workshops for teachers from all over the country, on 23 April in Montevideo and on 25 April in Salto.

 

With the overall objective of raising awareness and strengthening the capacities of teachers on this crucial issue, the workshops aim to specifically address two key aspects: gender and STEM awareness, as well as gender-sensitive science and technology education.

 

International expert Sarah Peers, from the New Model Institute for Technology and Engineering in the UK, has led these sessions and will address topics ranging from the importance of gender and STEM awareness to the need for gender-sensitive science and technology education.

 

In addition to the workshops, the expert and president of the International Network of Women Engineers and Scientists is developing a guide for teachers to provide tools to rethink their classroom practice with the ultimate goal of encouraging full participation of girls and adolescents in STEM areas. Inspired by international models, this guide will be adapted to the Uruguayan context to maximise its effectiveness in the country's classrooms.

 

For ANEP, these initiatives are aligned with the Uruguayan government's gender equality objectives, specifically in the promotion of women's economic autonomy. By expanding opportunities for girls and adolescents in STEM areas, it is expected to contribute significantly to this goal.

 

"These actions not only have an impact on the education and empowerment of girls and adolescents, but also promote greater social cohesion and contribute to the reduction of gender inequalities in the country," adds Marta Ramirez, Cooperation Attaché of the Delegation of the European Union in Uruguay.

 

As the guide points out, when looking at promising and important economic sectors for Uruguay, it is clear that the equal participation of girls and women in STEM is crucial. For example, in the context of the green transition, Uruguay has invested in renewable energies, such as wind and solar, to diversify its energy matrix and reduce carbon emissions.

 

As the guide points out, when looking at promising and important economic sectors for Uruguay, it is clear that equal participation of girls and women in STEM is critical. For example, in the context of the green transition, Uruguay has invested in renewable energy, such as wind and solar, to diversify its energy matrix and reduce carbon emissions. However, women are underrepresented in key roles in this industry. Promoting women's participation in areas such as environmental engineering and renewable energy management is not only a matter of equity, but also enriches decision-making and promotes innovation in this strategic sector.

 

For Betiana Gilino, AUCI cooperation technician, understanding the importance of promoting change for women and girls in STEM in Uruguay means recognising the economic and social opportunities that are being lost due to the lack of gender diversity in key sectors. "By addressing this gap and working towards equal opportunities in STEM, Uruguay can move towards a more inclusive, equitable and innovative society," he said.

 

James Newby, CEO and President of the New Model Institute for Technology and Engineering stresses that "at NMITE we try to do things differently and challenge the status quo, including gender issues in engineering and technology. We are therefore particularly proud to have Dr Sarah Peers lead these workshops, which address the promotion of gender mainstreaming in STEM education".

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