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In an ode to International Women’s Day, celebrated on 8 March 2021, Mastercard has launched its first digital South African Girls4Tech Connect programme.
The programme has been rolled out and hosted at Rose-Act Saturday School located in Alexandra Township in Johannesburg.
First Girls4Tech Connect Digital Programme launches in SA
Targeted at young girls aged between seven and 12 years, the programme aims to inspire and prepare participants for careers in science and technology.
The Girsl4Tech initiative was launched in 2014 and offers activities and a curriculum based on global science and maths standards.
The programme pairs Mastercard’s focus on technology and innovation with a range of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) careers such as fraud detective, data scientist, and software engineer.
Since its inception, the programme has widened its curriculum to include topics such as artificial intelligence and cybersecurity. The programme has now implemented its first-ever digital phase catering to the existing conditions of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Suzanne Morel, Country Manager for Mastercard, South Africa explains that the programme aims to empower young girls and bridge the gap in the number of females in the STEM industry.
“STEM skills are still the most in-demand jobs in the South African job market, yet only 13% of graduates in STEM fields are women. At Mastercard, we are committed to tackling this challenge head-on to see women succeed and thrive in domains where they have historically been overlooked. Through Girls4Tech Connect, we want to develop a strong pipeline of talent by encouraging girls to embrace the subjects that will prepare them for the workforce of the future, while helping to reduce the shortage of STEM skills that are needed to boost South Africa’s economy.”
This year’s digital programme will be partially hosted at Rose-Act Saturday School which offers extra classes on Saturdays to students that are enrolled at local schools in and around the township area.
Bafana Mohale from Rose-Act Saturday School comments on the importance of the programme and its offering.
“STEM skills are so important in today’s digital world. We are excited to partner with Mastercard to enable our learners to explore, create, and learn in a fun and immersive online environment like Girls4Tech.”
According to Mastercard, the award-winning Girls4Tech programme has already reached more than 1 million girls in 41 countries including more than 1000 in South Africa.
Featured image: Girls4Tech (Supplied)