To celebrate International Women’s Day, we asked Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE, about why she set up Stemettes, the social enterprise that gets girls into Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.
It all started with a story. When Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon, MBE, was a child, she played around with her dad’s computer, rewriting Little Red Riding Hood as Little Purple Riding Hood. The simple act of using a computer to create something that would exist forever, was enough to grab her attention and spark a lifelong love affair with technology and maths.
At the age of ten she passed two GCSEs at the same time, one in ICT and one in maths. From there she became the youngest girl ever to pass A-level computing aged 11, before going on to earn a Master’s degree in mathematics and computer science from the University of Oxford at the age of 20.
But despite Anne-Marie’s personal success, women are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and maths, whether that’s in the workplace or in education; she was one of only three women on her Master’s degree. So, after attending the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (the world’s largest gathering of women technologists) in 2012, she knew it was time to do something about it.
And so Stemettes was born. It’s an award-winning social enterprise, working across the UK and Ireland to help inspire and raise awareness of STEM as a career prospect for young women and girls aged between 5-21. According to the Stemette’s mission statement, only 21.1% of the UK’s STEM workforce is female. Stemettes’ mission is to raise this number to more than 30%.
The way they inspire the next generation of women in STEM is by giving them a safe space to learn and explore the world of STEM. Best of all, they’re introduced to the amazing women who are already forging successful careers in STEM, providing role models and aspirational figures.
At the start of 2018, they hit their fifth birthday and in that time, they’ve reached an incredible 40,000 young people with an innovative mix of panel events, hackathons exhibitions and mentoring schemes. To keep their audience engaged they talk to them on their level, using their own app ‘OtotheB’, which lets the UK’s young demographic find and book courses and get information about STEM subjects.
Stemettes is made possible thanks to the hardwork of their small full-time team, their dedicated volunteers and their corporate sponsors. If you’d like to get involved with this great organisation then check out their partnerships and sponsorship link here.
Their fifth anniversary coincided with International Women’s Day, which was always a busy time for Stemettes anyway. “It’s a day to celebrate who women are, what women have achieved and the capacity and potential that women have, in a world where sometimes we’re forgotten or left out of the narrative.” said Anne-Marie.
“For us it’s an exciting day because it allows us to have STEM and technical women be a part of that wider narrative, because it’s something that hasn’t always been part of that discussion of women’s rights,” she said.
“Having equality and technology will mean that everyone has a voice in that world of the future. It means that everyone is digitally literate, in that they are able to contribute to society and have their own impact and allow us to have the kind of innovation we deserve as a race.”
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