With an aim to close the gender gap in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), Lenovo has joined others that share its vision to pool US$1 million in a new STEM fund.
The fund is initiated by the Micron Foundation and managed by AVPN, the global network of social investors in Asia.
“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.
This fund will support the development of innovative solutions that will increase access to STEM learning opportunities for girls below 18 years in India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, and Taiwan Region.
Considering that by 2030, up to 80 per cent of jobs in Southeast Asia will require basic digital literacy and applied Information and Communications Technology skills, as per UNESCO, this is a step in the right direction.
The objective of the fund is to help remove the hurdles that girls face in pursuing tech careers, and create a more inclusive STEM workforce.
STEM Education and the skills developed as a result, are pivotal in driving innovation, creativity, and productivity across various industries.
In spite of the growing job opportunities in the STEM industry, the proportion of girls pursuing and studying STEM is rather low. As a result, the representation of women in STEM fields is also low. Another reason is that the gender gap begins in the early stages of education itself.
The fund will help provide disadvantaged girls and women with unfettered access to STEM education and equip them with digital skills and knowledge, making them employable in the workforce of the future and enjoy autonomy and quality of life.
According to Patrica Mathias, head – gender platform at AVPN, “we must remain cognizant of the rich diversity and complexities of Asia, and ensure more stakeholders join us to catalyse their capital, technical assistance, and policy influence — to truly see the systemic changes needed.”