GE, Microsoft, Kids Comp Camp collaborate to get more Kenyan Girls into Science and Technology

GE MicrGE aims to address ongoing gender imbalance in technical fields and fully transform into a digital industrial company. (Image source: GE)General Electric (GE) and Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO), in collaboration with Kids Comp Camp in Kenya, are working together to increase girls’ participation and uptake of careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)

The initiative aims to close the gap in terms of women’s participation in STEM-related careers after UNESCO’s recent revelation that only 28 per cent of women globally are currently working in science and technology-related fields.

In Kenya, only nine per cent of Kenyan women are registered engineers. The event is part of GE’s Girls initiative designed to encourage girls to explore the world of science, technology, engineering and math and STEM-based careers.

The coding challenge saw about 46 girls in Grades six and seven at the SHOFCO School for girls undergo an engaging session of coding challenges facilitated by Kids Comp Camp and career guidance session with GE Women Network.

The event aims at exposing the underserved students to opportunities in STEM for both employability and entrepreneurship. To sustain the initiative, the girls will also have other opportunities such as shadowing GE employees on the job and visiting GE facilities such as its Karen Healthcare training centre and other customer sites.

SHOFCO runs tuition-free leadership academies for Girls, located in Kibera and Mathare in Nairobi, where more than 500 students are receiving a free high-quality education from pre-kindergarten through the eighth grade.

Despite large efforts made over the past decades to narrow the gender gap in STEM, major inequalities persist, according to UNESCO’s 2017 report on cracking the code: girls’ and women’s education in STEM. Socio-economic, cultural and other obstacles still prevent female learners from completing or benefiting fully from the good quality education of their choice in many situations. In higher education, only 35 per cent of all students enrolled in STEM-related fields are female.

GE Girls, part of GE’s East Africa Women’s Network, comes at the back of the company’s ‘Balancing the Equation’ commitment that seeks to increase the number of women in engineering, digital, manufacturing and product management roles by 2020.

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