6 tips for STEM girls work...

Pupils at the zdi girls camp
The welcome speeches at the zdi girls' camp caused enthusiasm among the schoolgirls.

... and how zdi.NRW implements them.

As part of the zdi heroines October the first zdi girls camp took place on October 28, 2022. In eleven workshops, around 140 schoolgirls worked with active members from the zdi networks to find solutions to the questions: How can we get girls interested in MINT (mathematics, computer science, natural sciences and technology)? What wishes, requirements and ideas does the target group itself have? And why are some sciences more popular with girls than others?

The results of this successful cooperation can be seen in the event documentation read. We summarize the most important tips for a successful MINT girls work here.

With a stable proportion of girls of around 45% in the zdi measures carried out, the MINT girls' work at zdi.NRW has proven to be particularly successful. You can find out which measures contribute to this in the blue information boxes.

6 tips for STEM girls work

MINT is something for team players

MINT professions are characterized by exchange, teamwork and communication. These aspects are important to many girls and should be clearly emphasized during career and study orientation.

In competitions like this robot competition or the Science League teamwork is very important. Also projects of the zdi networks such as KReateFuture promote collaboration and communication.

Experience character of MINT offers and contextualization

A participant works on her lightsaber hilt on the milling machine

Explain and change the world with STEM. Be it technical everyday objects such as smartphones and tablets or food, cosmetics, medicines: we are surrounded by STEM and with STEM knowledge we can influence our lives. It is therefore important to put STEM in context and to design STEM offers as an experience.

In the workshops and courses within the zdi community MINT topics are placed in interdisciplinary contexts and linked to climate change or sustainability topics, for example, in order to create references to current and everyday topics.

Decouple offers from school

A star warrior with a self-sewn cowl and lightsaber at the zdi holiday course in the zdi network in the district of Coesfeld.
Copyright: Coesfeld District, Janina Neukirch

Many young people associate MINT with school subjects in particular. In order to avoid possible negative associations, extracurricular offers should be decoupled from the classroom as much as possible. School language or the all too direct reference to school subjects can be a deterrent.

The extracurricular offers from zdi.NRW are colourful, diverse and geared to current topics. Instead of math, physics or chemistry, the courses revolve around B. about escape games, artificial intelligence or science fiction and show practically where MINT can hide everywhere in everyday life.

Building bridges to other subjects and topics

A person works on a lamp built from a tricycle with skis.

If STEM is combined with other subjects such as art, languages ​​or social sciences, a complete(er) picture of STEM knowledge emerges. This is attractive to young people and also reaches out to those who see their strengths outside of STEM subjects.

In program MINTplus combines zdi.NRW MINT topics with art and culture. Courses on computer linguistics, self-programmed embroidery patterns or the design of upcycling items or e-wearables broaden the MINT horizon and encourage you to think outside the box.

Let's talk about money!

Young girls are often said to want above all to choose meaningful jobs. But it turns out that the question of salaries and career opportunities is also very relevant for young girls. Therefore, the lucrative nature of STEM professions in terms of (subsequent) remuneration should be seriously demonstrated.

The MINT areas provide jobs with real future prospects and good salary prospects. zdi.NRW wants to give young women confidence in their own abilities through good education, empowerment and strong role models and show that a successful career is not tied to gender identity.

Incorporate the wishes and ideas of the target group

A girl speaks into a microphone

MINT offers should be based on the wishes of the young women. If the target group gets involved in the conception of courses, the providers can be sure that this meets the needs. In this way, the students experience important self-efficacy and feel taken seriously.

Participation is a basic principle of zdi's work, for example when developing new courses. About the zdi community platform, the zdi youth advisory board and at events like that zdi girls camp we regularly engage in direct exchange with young people.

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