Title: Girls’ Labs Project: Breaking Gender Stereotypes in Science and Technology

Further Education Cooperation Science

At the end of November, the first workshop for teachers of the Girls’ Labs project took place at the Meandr premises in Řevnice, focusing on motivational STEM programs for secondary school girls under the guidance of NTC.

The Girls’ Labs project, launched at the beginning of this school year, is co-financed by the European Union as part of the Employment Plus Operational Program (OPZ+) of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs of the Czech Republic. The project targets the low representation of women in science and technology in the Czech Republic and responds to entrenched gender stereotypes associated with these fields, often unconscious. At the same time, it seeks to make the teaching of technical and scientific subjects more motivational and attractive for female students.

The project aims to contribute to dismantling gender stereotypes associated with STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and expand the spectrum of fields that female students from selected high schools consider for their future studies and careers. "Girls and boys are not born with a preconceived idea of what professions they may or may not pursue in the future and what their cells are made for. In kindergarten, they are not yet bound by social norms and stereotypes, but this gradually changes during their journey through the school system, and their ideas begin to narrow. In the project, we particularly want to work with secondary school girls in their first or second years, who are facing decisions about their further studies and careers, and show them that working in science and technology is open to them and can be fun and fulfilling," said Alice Nováková, project coordinator from NTC's Infrared Technologies team.

The planned motivational programs aim to give girls the opportunity to explore scientific and technical fields through practical and research-oriented activities using educational infrared cameras and connect them with inspiring female role models from the NTC research center and Bosch company. The Gender Information Center NORA is preparing workshops for teachers and several accompanying online seminars focused on gender-sensitive education. 

The main coordinator of the project is the NTC research center, which will collaborate with Bosch and GIC NORA. 

On the first day of the workshop, Alice Nováková introduced the project and discussed participants' expectations. An introduction to gender-sensitive education was presented by representatives of the Gender Information Center NORA. Infrared cameras were also introduced as an innovative tool for STEM education. Representatives from high schools and the NORA center provided examples of proven practices. On the second day, participants debated gender stereotypes in schools and the principles of gender-sensitive teaching. This was followed by discussions and feedback that will shape the topics of online seminars. The workshop culminated in creating a plan for project activities and agreements among participants regarding the thermal camera lending system.

"Our educational infrared cameras greatly support the teaching of physics, chemistry, or even environmental education. They are not only a motivational element but also a useful tool, especially for girls, so that these subjects do not discourage them immediately. Our thermal cameras provide visualization of abstract and complex phenomena, and each child can immediately operate them because they function similarly to a tablet. There is a great interest in experimenting with thermal cameras. Despite a slight snow calamity, even Docent Ľubomíra Valovičová from Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra did not miss the workshop in Řevnice. She is dedicated to popularizing science and the theory of teaching physics, which she verifies in her teaching practice," added Vladislav Lang, the expert guarantor of motivational programs.


 


The project is financially supported by the Employment Plus Operational Program (OPZ+). Call: Gender Non-Stereotypical Choice of Study Field and Profession (1). Project number: CZ.03.01.02/00/22_020/0000850.

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Photo: Václav Bacovský

New Technologies - Research Centre (NTC)

Dita Sládková

14. 12. 2023