International Day of the Girl is an invitation to all of us in the education field to ask ourselves how we make a difference in the lives of girls. One important way this can be accomplished is to help them envision a future in which they play an integral role in shaping the world around them. At The Learning Partnership, we accomplish this by designing programs for the benefit of both girls and boys that endow them with the skills needed to tackle the problems of today and tomorrow in innovative and creative ways.
Since the inception of the United Nations General Assembly’s Sustainable Development Goals
, Canada has witnessed tremendous strides towards a more equitable and accessible society. The 2030 Agenda outlines 17 global goals that target a collection of issues ranging from poverty and health to the environment. Goal number 4 focuses on education, and more importantly equality
in access to education while goal number 5 focuses on achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls. One of the ways in which educational institutions and policy makers have worked towards breaking down barriers to gender inequality in education is by focusing on experiential Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs in the classroom that expose both girls and boys to these subjects in ways that lay bare their relevance to the future.
Canada, however, has considerable work to do in tackling the serious problem of the under-representation of women in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). We know that despite the fact that women represent the majority of undergraduate university students in this country, they are underrepresented in STEM-focused programs. We also know that women account for only 39 per cent
of university graduates aged 25 to 34 with a STEM degree, but represent about two-thirds of non-STEM graduates.
To begin to address that gap, we need a purposeful strategy to support girls in helping them see the value and importance of careers in this area, and to provide them with the necessary skills and competencies to succeed. At The Learning Partnership, we believe that we are part of the strategy to reduce the STEM gender gap in Canada, as we offer programs through schools across the country that serve to demystify STEM and promote its significance. Our classroom-based, interactive programs integrate literacy, digital literacy, numeracy, science and social studies to challenge students to bring all these skills and knowledge to bear on the process of solving real-world problems. The programs also strengthen global competencies such as critical thinking, creative problem-solving and collaboration, and equip students with another lens through which to view the world.
As we continue working towards the 2030 Agenda, leaders in education must work towards creating equal opportunities for girls and boys to gain the skillsets and tools needed to succeed in the future world of work.
What are you doing to make a difference in the lives of girls, in Canada and across the globe?
Tina Ghaemmaghami is currently completing a secondment with The Learning Partnership as a Marketing Coordinator through RBC’s Career Launch Program. A recent graduate from McGill University, Tina is interested in building on her academic background in International Development and Management in a field that utilizes appropriate business tools to achieve social change. This post is in celebration of the International Day of the Girl!