Despite recent global efforts to encourage women to pursue STEM-related education or careers, a significant gender gap still persists in science fields, especially in less economically developed countries, such as the Republic of Moldova. Recent data shows that only 21% of all Moldovan researchers engaged in engineering, technology, natural sciences or medicine are women. This discrepancy exists mostly because of perpetual gender stereotypes, and subsequently, a lack of opportunities and resources targeted specifically at young girls interested in STEM.
Girls in STEM Moldova is a project which aims to encourage girls’ interests and passion in STEM by providing informational resources and appropriate mentoring. We are a team of 17 young girls, equally passionate about science. Throughout almost a year of activity, we have effectively engaged with Moldovan girls who are interested in STEM through webinars, interviews with successful examples of women in STEM, informational posts, and a series of practical STEM guides. Our most recent project consisted of the elaboration of four guides in biology, physics, computer science, and chemistry, featuring at-home experiments and personal projects for independent study in the STEM field. This activity was sponsored by the National Platform of Gender Equality, whose funds we used to elaborate, print, and distribute 480 copies to educational institutions across Moldova’s Northern and Southern regions. Following this grant, it became clear that there needs to be more focus on two main challenges girls continue to face: the lack of an online platform with STEM resources, and a lingering disinterest in sciences. To tackle these specific issues, we have come up with certain activities that we would like to implement with the help of the CSGC grant.
Unfortunately, the youth in Moldova has limited access to STEM resources. Moldovan’s primary source to find information is Google, but it is always in English or other languages. For kids who do not have English taught in their schools, which is the majority of them, especially those in rural areas, do not have other choices. This is why Girls in STEM is creating a comprehensive website in Romanian with STEM resources, guides, science-related news, and a forum for our audience to connect with each other. With this website, every child who has access to the internet can study STEM. Also, to show the applicability in science and how fun it is, our team is developing a Home Quest guide for girls with an interest in STEM, specifically forensics, with the help of a local expert in criminalistics who has shown an interest in our initiative and assists us in creating guides with factual information and clues.
We believe that with this project we will motivate girls to explore and achieve their full potential, by giving them appropriate resources and mentoring, promoting individual methods of learning, and strengthening the community. Our goal is to help and support each and every girl in her path toward a STEM career.
*Following is the prototype of our website: Prototip_site
-Ana Vizitiv ’23