RCC WE campaign continues with young Western Balkans’ women studying science, technology, engineering, mathematics

19 March 2020

STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (Illustration: Shutterstock)

STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (Illustration: Shutterstock)

Sarajevo – Ivana Todorovska is a smart hard-working young woman, a student of Analytical Biochemistry at the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics in Skopje. Ivana’s message to all of us, young women and girls in particular, is that although it is very hard to become a scientist, she won’t stop trying.

Women have influenced eras and changed nations. Women in science have splintered the shell of this previously male-dominated field. We live in times of exposure to the same danger, and more women in science and research would make a difference…

Give it a shot girls! Intelligence is not static, science and engineering are not for boys only.

Women are under-represented in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM), starting from education, to workplaces and senior managerial positions. The Western Balkans is no exception to this global gender disparity in STEM. For example, female students are significantly underrepresented in engineering, manufacturing, construction - 37% and ICT classes - 30%.The employment rate for women in 2018 was only 43.7%. The Western Balkans GDP would have been 20% higher if women were to participate in the labour market at the same level as men do.  If we want more women in STEM, we need to start working on it from early childhood.  

The RCC continued its WE (Women Empowerment) campaign this March with Marta, an extraordinary woman from Skopje who combined her formal education as mechanical engineer with her passion for design. Her export-oriented company that employs 50 people is in the business of making useful, practical but unique items, like radiators, thanks to the striking and innovative design. Marta made a success. 

And there is plenty of potential for similar success stories in the region! Therefore, WE continue to present to you young women, STEM students from the Western Balkans, who enthusiastically shared with us their plans, dreams and expectations. Their stories are inspiring and hopeful for this region.

But, WE will continue everywhere in the region! Just #ListentoWomen!
WE #DareToCreate!
WE #EducateSTEM
WE #SupportExploration
Checkout WE campaign at our webpage and social media: Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter

Lack of professional and support networks in the male dominated environment further confines the career progression– reserving managerial and supervisory positions for men. Even at mid-level positions, women are paid less than men with same competencies. Formal networks and stimulating environment can help women to tackle these issues, by providing support and encouragement to help them invest in their personal and career development. To allow them to dream big, and make their dreams come true!
RCC together and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are ready to embark on this task already in spring, and join forces to influence policy-makers, industry, and educational institutions to pay due attention to gender equality in STEM from primary school to workplace, by launching the Network of Women in STEM. The aim of the project is to trigger comprehensive support, focusing on increased enrolment and completion of STEM study programmes by women in the Western Balkans and increased uptake and support progression of women in STEM professions.