Sergey Tokarev, a Reface investor, and originator of STEM is FEM, shared his views on what they had achieved through the STEM is FEM project.
The STEM is FEM project was initiated in the fall of 2019. During the first year, seven modules were held under this project in which over 200 participants took part. The aim of the charity initiative is to destroy gender stereotypes in the field of IT. In the current Ukrainian IT field, women are not considered worthy to become IT professionals and specialists. However, it is a wrong perception.
What is the Purpose of STEM is FEM?
AT the moment, the number of women working in the field of IT is barely a third of the total number of developers. The main reason for this situation is the existence of stereotypes that only men are suitable for IT jobs. According to Sergey Tokarev, there was a need for more women’s participation in IT and the current situation should be changed. That is why he initiated STEM is FEM to motivate more Ukrainian women to choose IT as a profession.
He noted, “When choosing an education, girls are much less likely to choose these areas. This situation should be changed.” The main focus of the project is to introduce schoolgirls to the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields and enhance their participation in the tech specialties.
How was the first year of STEM is FEM?
STEM is FEM engages various Ukrainian schoolgirls in free, educational STEM-related modules. In the first year, seven such modules were conducted under this project. Each module had its own aims and objectives. Female specialists in the topic area of each module shared their experience and knowledge with the schoolgirl. Each module had different kinds of creative activities for the schoolgirls to test their learnings. Last year, the participants developed innovative robots, benches, and bike stations.
Each module focused on both theoretical and practical knowledge. The participants saw the practical implication of the lectures given by specialists through industrial field visits. However, the modules turned to remote learning in Spring 2020 due to the spread of the coronavirus. “When the epidemiological situation in the country stabilizes, we will definitely get this practice back,” ensured Sergey Tokarev.
How will this year of STEM is FEM be?
The STEM is FEM project has entered its second year. This year, the charity initiative aims to introduce Ukrainian schoolgirls to artificial intelligence, space, pharmacology, and many other fields of STEM. The next module is set to take place on December 12-13. It will introduce the participants to the technical aspects of the agro-industry.
Sergey Tokarev appreciated the support of various other global and national organizations. He said, “We are very pleased that such serious organizations and companies are joining this process and helping to draw attention to this problem in Ukraine.” The US embassy in Ukraine, the Finnish Embassy in Ukraine, UNICEF, UN Women, BMW Ukraine, Kyiv Electric Networks, Beetroot, the Goethe Institute in Ukraine, and various other organizations are providing support to this program.
Along with education, the program aims to provide motivation to the participants as well. During each module, the participants get a chance to talk to the leading women in the field of business, diplomacy, politics, and other notable fields. “Motivation is one of the most important keys to success, along with technical skills,” concluded Sergey Tokarev.