One Turkish company offers a program to tackle the gender disparity in STEM fields.
Around the world, gender disparity is prevalent in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), not only in education but also in employment and career guidance. According to UNICEF's 2020 report Mapping Gender Equality in STEM from School to Work, 70 percent of individuals in 34 countries associate science with men more so than with women. In Nepal, 10 percent of math and just 20 percent of science teachers are women. And Ugandan women lack role models to influence their career paths.
Limak Inşaat Kuwait, a subsidiary of Turkish builder Limak Holding, is helping tackle this issue in the Middle East, according to a Trade Arabia report. In 2018, it launched the Kuwait's Engineer Girls program to move the needle on gender parity in STEM and help young females succeed in the private sector. Since then, 90 participants have graduated in three cohorts. The program is a joint venture with Limak, Kuwait University, the Training Program for Kuwaiti Newly Graduated Engineers and Architects by Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, and Turkey's Boğaziçi University.
Trade Arabia reports that comprehensive training is divided into four instructional chunks: foundational, professional, technical, and global. Participants receive instruction from Boğaziçi University professors, and Limak Inşaat subject matter experts conduct workshops and seminars. Topics of study include investment and finance models for engineers, project planning, and change management. Upon successfully finishing the program, participants will have completed nine learning modules spread across 200 learning hours.
While previous iterations of the program targeted students, recent engineering graduates are the new focus, according to Trade Arabia. To qualify for the program, women age 27 and younger must have earned an engineering degree within the past 3.5 years at the time of application.
Another programmatic change involves its delivery, which will primarily be online. Participants also will engage in site visits and field training opportunities on actual Limak projects, including Kuwait International Airport's new terminal. As Trade Arabia notes, successful participants gain more than just experience—they earn professional certifications, including a Business and Technology Education Council management and leadership certification that is recognized in more than 100 countries worldwide.