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How Diversity in STEM can boost European Industry & Innovation

Monday, September 2, 2019

Europe’s knowledge economy needs Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) talent to be able to solve societal challenges. The current shortage and serious lack of diversity in STEM is hindering companies’ ability to stay competitive and innovative. CSR Europe, together with IBM, Samsung Electronics, Amgen and Johnson & Johnson, launched the collaborative platform “Together for STEM” to tackle the issue. Companies are invited to join the Webinar on 12 September to learn about the Platform and how you can join us.

 

The European economy is driven by knowledge. For our industries to remain competitive and drive innovation the shortage of talent in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) needs to be addressed. While these fields are steadily expanding, the selection base is not increasing at the same pace. As a result, Europe lacks diversity in STEM, with innovation becoming harder to achieve. In order to address the issue, CSR Europe partnered up with IBM, Samsung Electronics, Amgen and Johnson & Johnson, to create the  “Together for STEM”, the European Business Platform for inclusive STEM. The platform aims to accelerate and scale-up business initiatives to promote diversity and inclusiveness in STEM education and professions through sustainable business collaboration in Europe. By working together these companies can better leverage the leadership initiatives they already have.

STEM is not just about technological progress, but also about finding solutions to complex societal challenges, such as those outlined by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Understanding science can, for instance, improve people’s health through new medical treatments. Working in tech can lead to the development of new devices and applications useful for a wide variety of purposes, from clean energy to strengthening local communities. Many professionals are already out there, contributing to improving and even saving people’s life. However, women and girls account for just 31.4% of the STEM students in Europe and for ICT studies it can be as low as 8%. To tackle this issue, we need to get more young people interested in STEM, and to do so we must address the underlying challenges, such as persisting stereotypes, lack of role models and non-inclusive learning methods.

Diversifying the image of STEM careers may not only attract more women and minorities to the field but also make some men feel more at ease. They will not have to feel forced to fit into the male stereotype associated with STEM professionals: socially isolated, complicated, nerd, masculine and uncooperative. In our modern society, these stereotypes do not reflect reality anymore and we need to bring about a new narrative for STEM.

CSR Europe members and interested companies are therefore invited to join the webinar of 12 September to discover what we have achieved so far and our plans moving forward. You will find out how you could join “Together for STEM” and help us drive systemic change by:

  1. Optimizing STEM initiatives within companies
  2. Creating an improve STEM offer for young people at the local level
  3. Engaging with policymakers at the local and EU level for smart STEM education policies

More information:

Yvette Sweringa

Senior Project Manager

ys@csreurope.org