With a shared vision of closing the gender gap in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), Lenovo has joined with other corporate stakeholders to pool US$1 million in a new STEM fund initiated by the Micron Foundation and managed by AVPN, the world’s largest network of social investors in Asia.
The fund will support the development of innovative solutions designed to increase access to STEM learning opportunities for girls below 18 years in India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, and Taiwan Region. By chipping away at the barriers that girls face when taking up dream careers in technology, the fund ultimately aims to drive a more inclusive STEM workforce.
In the last decade, there has been a growing recognition that skills developed through STEM Education are pivotal in driving innovation, creativity, and productivity across various industries. According to UNESCO, by 2030, up to 80 percent of jobs in Southeast Asia will require basic digital literacy and applied Information and Communications Technology skills.
However, despite the growing employment opportunities that the STEM industry promises, there is still a low proportion of girls pursuing and studying STEM. This translates into lower representation of women in STEM fields as the gender gap often begins at early childhood education and secondary education stages. In countries where the gender gap is unfavourable to girls at the lower education levels, women tend to be underrepresented in STEM higher education and eventually in the STEM workforce.
“Given that the digital divide has become more pronounced post-pandemic with women being one of the hardest hit groups, partnering with AVPN to double down on our digital inclusion efforts is a natural step for us.” said Calvin Crosslin, Chief Diversity Officer and President of the Lenovo Foundation. “By providing women and girls from disadvantaged groups with unfettered access to STEM education and equipping them with the requisite digital skills and knowledge, we hope to help them succeed in the workforce of the future and achieve a better sense of autonomy and quality of life.”
Lenovo is committed to empowering under-represented communities and diverse populations with access to technology and STEM education through its global philanthropy partnerships and programs. Lenovo’s philanthropy leaders have set a goal is to impact 15 million people and transform the lives of 1 million people by 2025.
“Our vision for Gender at AVPN is to see a more equitable world for women and girls across Asia and mobilizing unrestricted financial capital through this STEM Fund will no doubt play a role in actualizing this vision. However, while we are seeing more funding to close the SDG Gender gaps in Asia, we must also remain cognizant of the rich diversity and complexities of Asia, and ensure more stakeholders join us to catalyze their capital, technical assistance, and policy influence — to truly see the systemic changes needed,” Patrica Mathias, Head – Gender platform at AVPN said.