The programme will support mathematics, IT, natural sciences & technology (MINT) education for young women through tailored courses at rural Bavarian schools.
The Technical University of Munich (“TUM”) today announces that it has formed a €750,000 partnership with The Hg Foundation, a grant-giving charity with a defined focus on education and technology.
Despite the propagation of equal opportunity in Germany, many professional fields in mathematics, natural sciences, IT and technology are still regarded as male domains. The effects of gender stereotyping remain strong and young women who decide against role-conforming occupations need support. Many still have little opportunity to gain regular practical experience in MINT subjects outside traditional school lessons and this lack of exposure can lead to a low MINT self-concept. In 2019, 48% of all pupils graduating from secondary school in Germany were female. In the same year, however, only 21% of all young people who chose a career with a focus on MINT subjects were women. TUM sees positive personal experience in working with MINT topics can counteract this issue, yet only a few such programmes exist.
The partnership between TUM and The Hg Foundation will support MINT-Impulse an der Schule – a mobile programme tailored specifically for girls in grades 9 and 10 (between ages 14 and 16 years old). MINT-Impulse projects focus on practical learning and will take place at various schools across Bavaria that face barriers accessing extracurricular programmes, either due to lack of resource, or simply because they are in more remote, rural locations. Female TUM instructors who are active in current research projects at TUM will travel to their students providing project work, side-by-side for one school day, offering them hands-on exposure to the research field, whilst also providing role models for participants. Equipped with first project knowledge from an online meeting before the on-site meeting, the girls will meet their instructors at their school and work in small groups on their projects. The programme is completed by an online-follow-up.
The Hg Foundation was formed in 2020 with the goal to make an impact on the development of skills most required for employment within the technology industry, focusing on individuals who may otherwise experience barriers to access. The Hg Foundation is backed by Hg, a leading software and services investor.
Grant funding from The Hg Foundation will enable more staff to be hired exclusively for the MINT-Impulse programme. It will also fund the expansion and development of new courses, source better material resources and enable gender-sensitive seminars for educators. The support will also commission an evaluation programme and scientific longitudinal panel study to determine the long-term effect of the programme. This research will inform the international student lab community and provide evidence needed to support further work in this field.
Christine Hager, Team leader at ExploreTUM, said: “Science and technology – that’s not for girls!” Unfortunately, you still hear such sentences. With our programme, we want to counteract this persistent stereotype. And the first test runs at the schools show: The mix of exciting project topics, hands-on exposure and authentic role-models works! After the project day many girls are enthusiastic – about the topics, the female TUM instructors and especially about their own abilities in this environment. We are excited to partner with The Hg Foundation, who shares our vision and who have been very entrepreneurial and pragmatic in their support. Their help will not only support the programme itself but also further important research on the impact and success factors.”
Cornelius Becker, Trustee at The Hg Foundation, added: “Across many of The Hg Foundation’s partnerships we have been strong believers in the effectiveness of in-person mentoring and role-models. We are delighted to be supporting a programme that uses these tools to empower young women to take a conscious decision about furthering interest and skills in MINT subjects. TUM is one of the world’s leading technical research universities and they have put forward some truly inspiring female instructors for the programme. We look forward to seeing what we can achieve together.”