Key to tackling the underrepresentation of women in STEM will be industry’s ability to communicate effectively with young women. For a tech-loving generation, the medium industry uses to connect with girls will be as important as their message.
Despite the STEM sector having one invaluable factor in its favour in this regard – easy access to technology – ironically the critical role technology can play in increasing young women’s involvement in STEM is often overlooked, but we’re determined to change this.
To coincide with our 3rdbirthday in February, we launched our flagship app, OtotheB. The app is supported by the Salesforce Foundation and Deutsche Bank and it creates a global online platform for girls interested in STEM and entrepreneurship. OtotheB plans to extend a version of the Outbox Incubator offering to a much wider audience – hence the app’s title being derived from the incubator’s name. We developed OtotheB with the lessons learnt from the 8000 girls it has reached to date in mind.
Engaging hearts and minds
The app is free and seeks to use tech to engage the hearts and minds of this gadget-savvy generation. Open to girls aged 11+, OtotheB gives users access to functionality such as “Motivation Mondays” (exclusive interviews with inspiring women in STEM, and the chance to win an opportunity to shadow them in the workplace), “Win Wednesdays” (access to competitions to win exclusive merchandise, STEM gadgets and networking opportunities) and “Thought Time Thursdays” (Google Hangouts with industry role models).
At the other end of the spectrum, face-to-face interactions are as critical to inspiring girls into STEM as technology.