โ€œYou have to do what you like. Nobody can tell you what you need to study โ€. Even if I am - even if they are STEM subjects. The message of the president of the National Research Council (Cnr), Maria Chiara Carrozza, to young Italian women.

MARIA CHIARA CARROZZA (Say)

The Stem world is finally - even slowly - populating with women, who more and more jump to the headlines for having reached amazing goals in a field, the scientific one, traditionally dominated by men. The taboo is finally falling, but the road to overcoming the many prejudices is still long.

Let's start with some data

In Europe, only two out of ten ICT jobs are occupied by women. In the years 2020-21 the freshmen who have chosen the technical-scientific faculties increased, but we are still behind compared to the rest of Europe: in Italy the graduates in Stem subjects are 24.7%, less than in France (26.8% ), Spain (27.5%) and Germany (32.2%). In Europe, 1 in 3 women choose a university path STEM, in Italy only 1 out of 5 women. We are always there: women lack visibility, points of reference, models celebrated by the media, certainly not competence.

In 2015, two Dutch digital entrepreneurs, Janneke Niessen and Joelle Frijters, decided to commit themselves to promote the knowledge of the many women who made it, under the motto "If she can see it, she can be it": if he can see her, he can also become like her. It is essential to illuminate a beacon on this issue, especially for the new generations. The girls of today will be the women of tomorrow, they must know that many have managed to be successful, that there are points of reference, examples to imitate and that women are not inferior to anyone. 

The Bracco Foundation, for example, has always been attentive to the "gender question" and carries on the project "100 women against stereotypes", also thanks to the work of Diana Bracco, president of the Foundation and CEO of Bracco Group, a global leader in diagnostic imaging and life sciences. A commitment tofemale empowerment which aims to encourage the formation of skills and recognize them, enhancing them.

One of those "who made it" is Maria Chiara Carrozza, the first female president of Cnr.ย 

She chose to study physics thanks to a high school teacher, a "fantastic" teacher, "who made the difference and marked my choice", she explained in an interview with the agency To say.

The role of the school in encouraging girls to study Stem subjects

The role of teachers, in addition to that of the family, is therefore fundamental. "We must all together give a signal to young people and citizens, to make them understand that by studying in the fields of science and technology, venturing into the frontiers of innovation, one acquires the tools to grasp the great challenge of the future and to face adversity", is the message of the president of the CNR. Unfortunately, it seems that our school system, with some exceptions, is still a little behind in encouraging our girls, who too often remain at the mercy of stereotypes and prejudices that are still deeply rooted in society.

"You have to choose what you like, nobody can tell you what you need to study", Maria Chiara Carrozza

Even if what you like is math, physics, computer science. Those famous "male" subjects, which however offer excellent career opportunities, in Italy and abroad, in crucial sectors for the economy of the future, the development and the restart not only of Italy but of the whole world, after the stop due to the pandemic.

National Recovery and Resilience Plan

The role of STEM subjects has also ended up in the famous PNRR, the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, the greatest opportunity our country has to transform the crisis and emergency into a driving force for recovery. Among the measures foreseen for the school, there is a strong investment in the learning of these subjects. In the not too distant future, digital skills will be the keystone for any profession, scientific knowledge will guarantee employment and specialization. And in this, women cannot and must not be left behind. A recent study by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) has shown how closing the gap between men and women in Stem subjects could lead to the creation of an additional 1.2 million jobs in the next 30 ' years.

We need a change of mentality: that the PNRR really serves to give the decisive push? 

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