Together for MINT and girls in NRW: zdi community shows their zdi heroines in October

Numerous girls and young women are involved and enthusiastic about MINT topics. Be it mathematicians, computer scientists, natural scientists or technicians who follow their MINT passion both as students and as professionals. In the zdi heroines October they tell their stories to inspire others as well.

Petra Kleinbongard is a biologist. She works at the Essen University Hospital and researches how the heart can be better protected in the event of a heart attack. One thing is clear to her: With her MINT knowledge, she is trying to help others in the long term. Heart patients should be able to live long and well. As a professor at the University of Duisburg-Essen, she passes on her enthusiasm for biology and cardioprotection, as her field is called. This makes Prof. Kleinbongard one of many women who are at the center of the zdi heroines October.

The month was initiated by the state-wide joint offensive for the future through Innovation.NRW, or zdi.NRW for short. For one month, personal stories, projects and topics related to MINT (mathematics, computer science, natural sciences and technology) and girls and young women are the focus: It's about professors and scientists from all over NRW, company employees and schoolchildren who tell what makes them tick MINT fascinates and how they want to shape the future with MINT. zdi heroines like Petra Kleinbongard are regularly presented in the zdi.NRW social media.

Read everything on our heroine campaign landing page: zdi heroines, scientists, courses can be found at

State Secretary Kaiser relies on diversity

Klaus Kaiser, Parliamentary State Secretary in the Ministry of Culture and Science of North Rhine-Westphalia and patron of the zdi heroines October, is enthusiastic about the campaign: "Every zdi heroine is different. One is present in the media, advertises for more young females in the MINT subjects and would like to inspire other women to follow their passion for MINT. The other works more in the background, researching central social issues such as renewable energies or the biology of the human body. But no matter which group someone belongs to: all zdi heroines make an important contribution to the future viability of our country.”

The aim of zdi-Heldinnen-Oktober is to support girls and young women in being active in the MINT field with self-confidence and lots of fun. The offers from zdi.NRW are diverse and mixed. Around 45% of the participants in zdi courses are already female. But this relationship is not yet reflected in many MINT training and study programs. According to the Federal Employment Agency, only around 11 percent of new trainees in MINT professions are female, and just over 30 percent of students starting a MINT degree are women. The current social challenges such as climate change and digitization can only be shaped with STEM knowledge. It would be fatal to do without the potential of well-trained young women.

Klaus Kaiser adds: "In order to get girls interested in MINT and give them the courage to choose these subjects professionally, we have to invest in a diverse education. The zdi networks and zdi school labs play a crucial role here: They show which professions require STEM knowledge and help schoolgirls with their professional orientation.”

Giving girls and young women a voice

zdi.NRW would like to continue to inspire schoolgirls and encourage them to decide on an apprenticeship or study in the STEM field. "It's important to us that the voices of young girls and women are heard - also when it comes to MINT funding," says Magdalena Hein from the zdi regional office. "In this way, we are constantly developing the zdi offers together with girls and young women, for example through surveys or workshops with young people at our zdi YouthScienceCamps." ) courses of the zdi networks and make the offers for boys and young men just as interesting as for girls and young women.

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