Unfortunately, women are still strongly underrepresented in STEM professions. This is not only evident in professional life, but already in the choice of suitable educational institutions and studies. There are many reasons for this, such as a lack of role models, gender stereotypes, and prejudices that are still strongly anchored in our society. To counteract this, measures are urgently needed and must be implemented as early as possible to awake interest in the STEM field. Once this interest has successfully been established, it is important to maintain it in the long term. This paper presents the “Girls* Only” project funded by the Federal Chancellery, which is being carried out at the Johannes Kepler University (JKU) and is in parallel being researched. The project develops and delivers a seamless program of STEM support activities with a focus on computer science and computational thinking for girls and young women of all ages. The focus is on the specific needs of the relevant groups. The activities include workshops, labs, and regular courses on various topics for all girls of kindergarten and school age. An IT club promotes the talents of highly talented girls. A series of training activities and further education for educators are carried out to support their work in awaking girls’ interest in STEM. A mentoring program and platform for female STEM students will be implemented at JKU and partner institutions. To strengthen this program, a qualitative survey with female pupils and students will be conducted to find out how to strengthen girls’ interest in STEM fields, how to promote them and what needs girls and young women have in order to remain in the STEM field. The aim is to form a (cross-university) network to support and promote young women.

Authors: Sandra Leitner, Sara Hinterplattner, Barbara Sabitzer

Published in: Ireland International Conference on Education (IICE-2022)

  • Date of Conference: 18-20 October 2022
  • DOI: 10.20533/IICE.2022.10.0005
  • ISBN: 978-1-913572-47-1
  • Conference Location: Virtual (Dún Laoghaire, Ireland)