The STEM Next Opportunity Fund and the Intel, Gordon and Betty Moore, and Charles Stewart Mott foundations have announced the launch of an initiative aimed at closing the gender gap in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.
With the overall goal of increasing diversity and equity in STEM fields, the Million Girls Moonshot initiative will work to engage a million school-age girls in engineering and computer science learning opportunities over the next five years. To that end, partners in the initiative will provide funding and in-kind resources in support of hands-on, immersive STEM learning experiences to Mott-funded afterschool networks in all fifty states, with a focus on underserved and underrepresented groups. In-kind support provided by the initiative will include technical assistance, educational resources, special curricula developed by NASA and access to Intel's She Will Connect program partners and employee volunteers. Other organizations participating in the effort include Qualcomm, Technovation, the National Girls Collaborative Project, CSforALL, JFF, Techbridge Girls, STEMconnector, and Lyda Hill Philanthropies.
Women currently comprise less than a third of the STEM workforce overall, while African-American and Latina women account for less than 3 percent. Among STEM fields, women are especially underrepresented in engineering, computer science, and math.
"When my father, Robert Noyce, and Gordon Moore founded Intel, they built upon the experiences of their youth, where they had opportunities to build, invent, engineer, and experiment," said Penny Noyce, founding board chair of the STEM Next Opportunity Fund, a legacy organization of the Robert N. Noyce Foundation. "These hands-on experiences gave them a sense of initiative, perseverance, and a belief that they could create revolutionary new technologies. The Million Girls Moonshot will help girls from diverse backgrounds develop this same engineering mindset, and I'm thrilled at the way it continues the legacy of Intel's founders and their passion for advancing STEM."
"Every girl deserves access to high-quality education to achieve their dream career, regardless of their ZIP code or family's socioeconomic status," said Intel Foundation deputy director Gabriela A. Gonzalez. "The powerful synergies from collaborating with other organizations who share these values achieve a larger collective social impact to advance gender equity and parity in STEM fields, and more important, elevate girls' future prospects for a better quality of life. Equipping youth with emerging technology skills in artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and Internet of Things is also critical for an inclusive and diverse future workforce."