The announcements surrounding yesterday’s International Women’s Day continue, as Mastercard has provided an updated for its ongoing Girls4Tech initiative, with the first Digital Connect iteration of the programme being launched Rose-Act Saturday School in Alexandra, Johannesburg.
For those unfamiliar with Girls4Tech, Mastercard started it in 2014, offering activities and a curriculum built on global science and math standards. In more recent years, it has zeroed in on young female learners aged seven to 12 in accessing more content related to STEM subjects, with its 2021 iteration now bringing a more digitally-focused classroom to the fore.
Through this first leg, Mastercard says it has reached almost 70 students.
“Starting as a hands-on, in-person session run by employee volunteers, the programme has expanded to cover topics such as artificial intelligence and cybersecurity, with enhanced access to its STEM curriculum through a digital learning experience – Girls4Tech Connect – as the COVID-19 pandemic led to a global surge in online learning,” notes a press release regarding the announcement.
“STEM skills are still the most in-demand jobs in the South African job market, yet only 13% of graduates in STEM fields are women. At Mastercard, we are committed to tackling this challenge head-on to see women succeed and thrive in domains where they have historically been overlooked. Through Girls4Tech Connect, we want to develop a strong pipeline of talent by encouraging girls to embrace the subjects that will prepare them for the workforce of the future, while helping to reduce the shortage of STEM skills that are needed to boost South Africa’s economy,” adds Suzanne Morel, country manager for Mastercard South Africa.
With the digitally-focused looking promising and addressing an immediate, it will be interesting to see whether Mastercard has plans to launch more of these kinds of projects under the Girls4Tech banner in the coming year, especially as the current education landscape shows no signs of changing.