At IBM, we believe that, as leaders, one of our biggest responsibilities is ensuring we are giving back to the communities in which we operate – bringing the power of our technology, resources and people to help with initiatives – from education to health to resilience.
This week, I’m in the Pink City of India – Jaipur in Indian state of Rajasthan – with my AP leadership team for our Q3 meeting – working with clients and driving growth, giving back to society and strengthening our collective well being and Gaia. We’ll be volunteering over 200 hours this morning to inspire 150 young girls to pursue an education in STEM skills; which are so important to the success of 21st Century India.
I’m so proud of this STEM for Girls program and the work we are doing. At a time when the opportunity technology represents for India has never been greater, women are retreating from the fields of science and technology at alarming rates. This program, together with other initiatives, has the potential to improve the skills and careers of more than 1 million female students and provide education resources to more than 4 million teachers over three years. And it is already making a difference…
Run as an in-school-curriculum (designed by IBM) covering hard and soft skills, the STEM for Girls program is expected to benefit 30,000 14 – 18 year old girls in State Education Department schools by improving education-to-work and career pathways for girls.
We’re volunteering at the Government Higher Secondary Girl’s School Amer, in Jaipur, led by the wonderful principal Smt. Manjulata Dhageya. During our morning at the school, my 50 strong AP leadership team will be introducing the girls to new collar skills including basics of coding, science and robotics through hands-on learning projects. In addition, mentoring sessions held with my team, many of which are women, will introduce students to STEM and explain different aspects of STEM careers. We’ll also be having some fun together, painting illustrations on walls and cooking.
This morning is an important step towards delivering on our commitment to advance the skills and careers of more than 200,000 female students in STEM fields. Already, 50,000 girls are being enrolled across 600+ government schools across India, and in Rajasthan alone we plan to scale to cover 306 schools over a period of three years.
And it doesn’t stop at schools…a vital and important part of the program is engaging girls’ families and their wider support network to ensure attitudes of society at large start to change allowing girls’ to balance their studies with family responsibilities. This is key to accelerating change.