To inspire the next generation of women engineers and innovators, GE and Junior Achievement Ivory Coast hosted a “Girls in STEM” event for 100 secondary school girls to build foundational Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) knowledge. The program was organized as part of GE Gas Power’s commitment to Inclusion and Diversity.
About 100 secondary school girls attended a “Girls in STEM” program presented by GE (NYSE: GE) and Junior Achievement Ivory Coast to establish foundational Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) knowledge with the hopes of motivating and encouraging them to pursue STEM careers. The Girls in STEM program aims to change people’s perceptions of STEM jobs and close the gender gap in these important fields.
The program included visits to STEM-related sites such as the Azito power plant in Yopougon, GE’s simulation center in Bingerville, and the CIPREL power plant in Vridi, as well as leadership and educational panel discussions, mentoring, and career insights sessions from renowned STEM leaders in the region. The goal of the site visits was to give students an immersive experience of future STEM jobs.
According to the World Bank and the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) 2020 Global Gender Gap Index, most economies have fewer women than men with STEM degrees, and while progress is being made to increase women’s participation in many fields, they still make up a minority of the world’s STEM workforce, which experts say is impeding progress in solving Africa’s complex development problems. Indeed, research has shown that women’s labor force involvement is a powerful driver of a country’s economic growth and development, with a substantial relationship between a country’s GDP and female labor force participation.
“Companies, schools, relevant government agencies, and institutions must initiate new programs and enhance existing efforts to lure more female talent into STEM professions to improve economic inclusion and decrease the gender gap.” These efforts must begin at a young age, such as encouraging more girls to study STEM courses in school and consider STEM careers as they go through their education. “Our goal is to empower and inspire the next generation of female engineers and innovators who will revolutionize Africa,” said Elisee Sezan, CEO of GE’s Sub-Saharan Africa Gas Power business.
“We are thrilled to collaborate with GE Gas Power for today’s Girls in STEM event as it matches with our overall purpose to significantly contribute to a better workforce of tomorrow by training kids for future employment,” Muriel Banny M’Bow, the Board Chair of Junior Achievement in Ivory Coast, said. It’s critical for innovation to address the gender gap in STEM fields by empowering more girls and women.”
In Ivory Coast, GE is a historical player and a pioneer in the power sector, and it has previously partnered with schools to train engineering students and advance women in technological leadership. The organization is perfectly positioned to mold the diverse workforce of tomorrow through outreach and interaction with local communities, with a more than 125-year history of pioneering innovation to offer solutions that help build a better world. Next Engineers (https://bit.ly/3pRwKgI), a global college-readiness project focused on boosting the diversity of young people in engineering, was recently announced by the GE Foundation, with a $2.5 million investment in Johannesburg, South Africa, over the next five years.