The digital revolution has been a catalyst for some of the world’s fastest growing occupations and the emergence of new, critical occupations –and women and girls are missing out on these opportunities. According to the World Economic Forum, women comprise less than 30% of the world’s workforce in STEM fields. Hong Kong is no exception to this disparity: only 9% of all engineers in the city are women, in contrast to 50% of solicitors and 34% of doctors.
A key factor contributing to the underrepresentation of women in STEM industries is the significant difference in the pursuit of STEM subjects between girls and boys. Research conducted by TWF shows that girls are three times less likely to pursue STEM-related degrees and four times less likely to pursue STEM-related careers. This gender gap is particularly concerning in specific academic disciplines within Hong Kong, where women accounted for only 30.8% of Engineering and Technology graduates and 38.3% of Sciences degree recipients in the 2021/22 academic year, according to the University Grants Committee.
TWF has been at the forefront of efforts to develop girls’ interest and confidence in STEM, particularly those from underprivileged backgrounds, through our Girls Go Tech Programme. But we wanted to further our efforts to help address the structural underrepresentation of women from underserved communities pursuing STEM related degrees, and to grow the pipeline of female talent entering into STEM-related careers. This is why we were proud to collaborate with Morgan Stanley last year to launch the Step into STEM Scholarship.
Today, we are thrilled to announce the eight recipients of the inaugural Step into STEM Scholarship: Chan Hiu Yi | CUHK Science, Chan Hong Yu | HKUST BSc in Environmental Management and Technology, Fan Wing Yu | HKUST Engineering, Hung Sze Man | CUHK BEng in Biomedical Engineering, Lam Yan Yi | CityU BEng Biomedical Engineering, Ng Sze Lam | CUHK Science, Sin Hei Man | CUHK BEng in Energy and Environmental Engineering, and Wang Man Wang | HKUST Engineering.
In today's interconnected world, digital, technological and other skills are crucial for individuals to actively participate in the global economy and seize opportunities that can drive growth. By encouraging and supporting more girls to pursue STEM degrees, we firmly believe that we can cultivate and expand a diverse pool of female talent in STEM fields. If women and girls are missing out on STEM education, they have limited access to jobs of the future. As a society, this affects our ability to innovate, generate new ideas and make progress towards a more equitable world.
We are excited to learn what these scholarship recipients will go on to accomplish in their academic and future career journeys and we hope this is just the beginning. The Step into STEM Scholarship has returned for 2024-25, with applications open now until May.
Join us in closing the gender gap in STEM and building a strong female pipeline in STEM. By investing in the next generation of talented women in STEM, we can empower them to reach their full potential as future leaders and innovators. Their success will unlock progress and creativity that our community needs. Together, we can create a world where women not only thrive but also pave the way for a more balanced and promising future in tech.
Get in touch at Fiona.Nott@twfhk.org
Here are a few ways you can help close the gender gap in STEM education:
1. Educate yourself: Study the facts and understand the reasons behind the underrepresentation of women and girls in STEM fields. This knowledge will enable you to advocate for change and take informed actions to close the gender gap in STEM.
2. Promote STEM education and awareness for girls: Increase efforts to promote STEM education among girls and raise awareness about the opportunities and benefits of pursuing STEM subjects and careers.
3. Showcase successful women in STEM: By highlighting the achievements and success stories of women in STEM fields, we can inspire and motivate more girls to pursue STEM subjects and careers, empowering them to believe in their own abilities and bridge the gender gap in STEM.