Few months ago, the United Nations has raised an alarm: 65% of boys and girls who enter primary school today will find for themselves jobs that do not even exist now or that are not imaginable. But those jobs will almost certainly have a lot to do with the scientific, mathematical or technological fields. In this context, the female under-representation in the scientific and technical disciplines, which will be indispensable for the new jobs and professions of the future, sounds even more alarming. According to UNESCO data, only 30% of female university students chose STEM subjects and less than one researcher out of three, worldwide, is a woman. In practice, only three girls out of a hundred would be familiar with computational thinking, computers, programming and related fields.
A manager of a software company, interviewed on the subject, said she had the «perception that both in high school and at university the value of a scientific oriented discipline is not adequately communicated … I believe that scientific disciplines need to be better disseminated, precisely, I repeat, starting from the school».
The MIUR initiatives in favour of STEM
It must be said that in recent years the MIUR – Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research – launched a series of initiatives within the framework of the latest reform structure of the school, and in support of the promotion of equal opportunities aimed also at countering gender stereotypes. One of the efforts resulting from this activity was precisely “The Month of the STEMs“, created last year by General Directorate for Students, Integration and Participation in collaboration with the Prime Minister Department of Equal Opportunities, with the aim of promoting the STEM disciplines in all schools of each order and grade.
The Ministry is fully aware of the role of the school system, and, in general, of the education and training system: «one of the stereotypes existing within the training system is that of a presumed poor attitude of female students towards scientific disciplines, which leads to a gap of genre in these areas both within the course of study and the choices of orientation first and then professional», is written in the presentation of the project.