Ada-Lovelace-Projekt – Mentoring for girls and young women in STEM
The acronym STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. The percentage of women who work in these fields is small due to the fact that many young women shy away from pursuing a career in these fields even though they are interested and talented. Although about half of all high school graduates and university freshmen in Germany are female they only make up a small percentage of STEM students and trainees.
Role models instead of gender roles
Reasons for this are that girls are often lacking support for their interest in technology and science as well as role models to guide their career orientation. Furthermore, gender stereotypes, prejudices and fears of possibly bad working conditions for women in stereotypical “male professions” are still deeply rooted in society. All of this discourages young women from pursuing a career in the STEM field and thus excludes them from one of the currently most attractive fields of work.
It’s our goal to win over girls and young women for a career in STEM and thereby increase the percentage of women in the long run. To reach this goal it’s not only important to directly work with female pupils but to also involve teachers, parents and the general public to promote sensibility and acceptance for the topic “Women in STEM”.
Mentoring work in the field
Our mentors who are female students and trainees in the STEM field inform, counsel and advise female pupils. They offer after school activities and workshops, organise project days at universities and inform teachers and parents about career perspectives in STEM. Collaborating on concrete technical and scientific assignments away from the pressure of school enables participants to test out, verify and extend their individual capacities. The small age gap between mentors and mentees encourages identification. The mentors can emphasize with the mentees’ situation and act as role model and contact person.
The mentors themselves are supported by project leaders at the various project locations. They participate in regular trainings with professionals that prepare them for their mentor work. This continuous education is a significant aspect of the Ada-Lovelace-Projekt’s quality management.
Just like Ada Lovelace
Living in a time in which the conception of the computer was still a dream yet being lauded as the first programmer today is a truly stunning achievement. Ada Lovelace (1815-1852) is known for her work on Charles Babbage’s “Analytical Engine” for which she translated theoretical mathematical formulas into program steps, a significant aspect of today’s programming languages.
We are proud to be named after a women who has shown great courage through her work. In a time in which due to being female she wasn’t even permitted in universities and libraries she has achieved impressive feats through her courage and commitment. We are convinced that our mentees and mentors will be inspired by such a fascinating woman.