RightsTech Women (RTW) is an innovative nonprofit that combines technology and human rights training for girls and women. It addresses global inequalities in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). RTW provides solutions to achieve STEM gender equality by 2030. Through its cutting-edge programs, RTW works to get more girls and women studying and working in STEM.
Today, more and more jobs require STEM-skilled staff, while women are still significantly under-represented globally in STEM post-secondary education and employment. This is because there aren’t enough women entering STEM and because employers fail to retain them.
WHY WORK ON THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF WOMEN AND GIRLS IN STEM?
There are many much-needed initiatives around the world to encourage girls and women in STEM. What was missing, however, was an organization comprehensively covering the life cycle of girls and women in all of STEM, in other words, the whole ecosystem of education and employment all the way through lifelong learning, and approaching the under-representation of women and girls in STEM from a human rights basis. RightsTech Women is taking the initiative in filling this gap. Our trainings not only teach girls and women STEM skills needed for the jobs of today and tomorrow, but they also teach girls and women that such skills are part of their human rights, to education and equality, for example. In this way, we can eliminate harmful gender stereotypes using human rights tools and methodologies, and bring more tools to existing efforts to encourage and retain girls and women in STEM.
WOMEN IN STEM EDUCATION:
- Globally, only about 31.5% of graduates from STEM-related fields are women. Most higher-income countries fall way below the average. (UNESCO UIS Education Indicator, 2015-2018)
- Only 28.8% of total researchers are women in the world. (UIS Fact Sheet No. 51, June 2018)
WOMEN IN STEM JOBS:
- Less than a third of the world’s technical workforce are women. (UNESCO Institute for Statistics, UIS Fact Sheet: Women in Science (2017))
- Global under-representation of women in STEM jobs. RTW’s research shows that women are under-represented in STEM employment all around the world – it’s not just a problem in some countries or regions. For example, in Switzerland, only about 11% of IT specialists and analysts are women. (Swiss Federal Statistical Bureau (Data: Employed persons aged 15 or more depending on the profession exercised, sex and nationality, 2016)
- One projection estimates that 65% of children entering primary school today will work in completely new job types that don’t yet exist, and most of those jobs will require STEM skills. (The future of jobs, World Economic Forum, January 2016)
- Climate and data science skills: Solving climate change problems will require a wide set of science and technology skills. Data science skills are needed. However, one study shows that currently less than 15% of data scientists are women despite job growth in this field. (What’s Keeping Women Out of Data Science?, Boston Consulting Group (2020), available at https://www.bcg.com/en-gr/publications/2020/what-keeps-women-out-data-science.)
GENDER PAY GAP:
- Globally, women across the economy earn on average 20% less per month than men. (Global Wage Report 2018/19: What lies behind gender pay gaps, ILO, 2018)
- According to one US survey, only 28% of startups have a female founder in their founding team. (Women in Technology Leadership 2019, Silicon Valley Bank)
RightsTech Women: Providing Solutions
RightsTech Women works to break gender stereotypes and expand opportunities for girls and women to enter STEM education and careers, to meet the job market needs of today and tomorrow.
RightsTech Women does this by working to increase the level of awareness of and interest in STEM among girls and women. It inspires and support girls and women to study and work in STEM by organizing hands-on tech training, providing a network of mentors and change advocates, and by promoting good practices and role models.
RTW’s three pillars of work include (1) research and data visualization, (2) advocacy and human rights education and training, and (3) STEM capacity building.
RTW innovates to combine tech training with human rights training, so that girls and women can not only learn tech skills, but also learn about their human rights that apply in STEM education and employment.
We make a bridge between the fields of human rights and STEM, for the benefit of both. RightsTech Women is a Swiss association legally based in Geneva. In 2019 alone, with our partners, we trained more than 400 girls in the Geneva area on robotics, programming and human rights. From 2020-2022, RightsTech Women developed with partners and offered trainings online and in-person to girls and women around the world in Python programming, and in analyzing satellite data to understand climate change. With support, we can expand and scale up our activities.
RightsTech Women’s innovative approach has earned the global recognition by the 2020 International Telecommunications Union’s Equals in Tech Awards, as a Finalist in the category of Leadership in Technology.
RightsTech Women has been honored as a Champion in the International Telecommunication Union’s 2021 WSIS Prizes – Category 1.
We are working to achieve gender equality in technology and innovation by 2030 and are taking part in the Generation Equality campaign on Technology and Innovation for Gender Equality. This multi-stakeholder partnership through UN Women mobilizes governments, civil society, international organizations, and the private sector.
One way you can get involved with our work is by donating to and sharing our GoFundMe campaign: https://www.gofundme.com/f/train-girls-for-stem-careers. Donor organizations can find more information our ‘Partners’ and ‘Donate’ web pages.
Your donation of any amount will help us reach more women and girls. Help us to grow our impact.