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Skill Development
Published on: Jan. 21, 2023, 3:43 p.m.
Mastercard empowers young Indian women through expansion of Girls4Tech programme
  • A file picture of the Girls4Tech programme debut in India

By Business India Editorial

Payment processing company Mastercard has announced the expansion of its Girls4Tech, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education programme in India. The programme, supported by the Mastercard Impact Fund and in partnership with the American India Foundation (AIF), aims to reach an additional 100,000 female students across India by 2024 to encourage them to take up STEM education.

This includes 14,400 students in Delhi and the addition of 40 government schools where STEM courses will be offered to girls aged 8 to 14. In 2020-21, the program reached over 112,482 girls in urban and rural locations across six states in India, including 10,000 across Delhi.

According to the All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) 2019-20, while women comprise over 43 per cent of STEM graduates in India, only 14 per cent go on to pursue scientific research in universities and institutions.

Launched in 2014, Girls4Tech is an award-winning education programme that aims to enable girls to discover a range of STEM careers, such as fraud detective, data scientist and software engineer.

Since 2015, more than 700 Mastercard employee volunteers have hosted multiple Girls4Tech events across Pune, Vadodara, Mumbai and Gurugram and held India-wide virtual sessions, reaching over 110,000 students aged 8-16.

Said Mathew Joseph, country director, American India Foundation, "The under-representation and disparity of women in STEM are results of deep-rooted social biases, and expectations, influencing the quality of education they receive and the subjects they study. The lack of female leaders and role models in STEM is also a barrier and one of the key drivers behind the gender gap in labour market success."

Subhashini Chandran, Vice President of Social Impact, Asia Pacific, Mastercard Centre for Inclusive Growth said, “Even though more women are needed in the workforce, they continue to face several challenges, particularly in India’s semi-urban and rural areas. One is the prevailing perception that the tech industry is dominated by men. As a result, girls do not receive adequate encouragement to pursue STEM disciplines at school or university. Through the Girls4Tech program, Mastercard aims to support the government’s vision to create more opportunities for women in the workforce by inspiring young girls and women to pursue STEM education which will help to prepare them for jobs of the future.”

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