Global payments company Mastercard uses science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) every day to help connect their payment network in 150 currencies across more than 210 countries and territories.
Eighty percent of jobs in the next decade need some combination of STEM, yet only 30% of the STEM workforce is comprised of women. Mastercard felt that, in partnership with its 17,000 employees, it was uniquely positioned to help young girls build STEM skills to allow them to become tomorrow’s leaders and created Girls4Tech to inspire girls to pursue STEM careers.
With employees serving as technology role models and mentors, Mastercard developed a signature STEM curriculum based on global science and math standards that showcases their payments technology—algorithms, encryption, fraud detection, data analysis, digital convergence and the power of their network.
Now in its sixth year, Girls4Tech is designed for young girls (ages 8 – 15). This hands-on, inquiry-based program connects the foundations of Mastercard’s business to STEM principles and shows girls that it takes all kinds of interests and skills to pursue a STEM career. The curriculum is based on global science and math standards and was created in conjunction with Mastercard’s top engineers and technologists.
- Researched and interviewed our top technologists to boil down our technology into STEM concepts appropriate for the middle school age level
- Hired curriculum experts to take concepts and create hands-on activities appropriate for young girls
- Launched program, complete with curriculum, comprehensive training videos for instructors, templates to introduce program to schools.
- Materials include t-shirts, bracelets, certificates, pens, lanyards, pins and more
- Developed G4T skills assessment quiz for girls and created a parents’ letter with vocabulary and special code to crack for the girls continued learning
- Developed post-event survey for girls, teachers and employees for constant feedback
- Created global employee awareness via internal articles, videos, blogs and photos
- Launched Girls4Tech Facebook page for students, teachers, parents and mentors
- Engaged Mastercard’s women technologists to welcome the girls to our offices and be part of the program as instructors
- Introduced three new programs: Girls4Tech in a Day to streamline and scale the program, Girls4Tech & Code, a 20-week G4T and coding program; and Girls4Tech 2.0 for high school girls
- Developed an advanced cybersecurity & AI curriculum for a deeper dive in two ‘hot skills” areas – Partnered with NGOs and businesses to continue to scale the program
In addition, Mastercard conducted a survey in Asia Pacific and Europe regions to determine why girls were not pursuing STEM careers. Eighty-four percent felt STEM didn’t involve creativity. To address this myth, Mastercard emphasized that creativity is used to solve problems, crack codes, create better algorithms and more.
As a result, more than 25% of the Mastercard employee base have served as mentors in the program with 100% saying they recommend the program to their colleagues. Eighty-four percent of participants reports that they increased their confidence in speaking simply and the majority said they increased their communication skills by serving as a mentor. In addition, Girls4Tech mentors were 15% more engaged at Mastercard than other employees.
To date, the program has reached more than 540,000 girls in 28 countries with 98% of girls saying they learned something new about STEM and 96% reporting they wanted to pursue a STEM career.