Women in STEM An Educational Radio Program

In our society we see significant gender gap disparities existing in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education and careers for females as compared to males. The stereotyping of knowledge and skills given to girls and boys at the introduction of formal schooling combined with marginalization of women continues to influence the gendered nature of education and hence determines the occupation of men and women in the society. The Arusha hub thus proposes a solution leveraging the power of radio communication and online content to inspire girls towards STEM careers among other objectives. The justification for this being radio access is fairly widespread throughout the country making it the most consistently available medium across income levels and locations (including those without Internet connectivity and power). 92% of the population in Tanzania listens to the radio at least once a week.  The idea is to design a daily/weekly radio show in collaboration with a local radio station and city authorities. A basic structure being - 20-30 mins interview segment with prominent women in STEM to share their story and actively engage to answer questions or address challenges women face in the community. 30-40 mins of quality tutoring in STEM subjects and a 5 mins segment alerting listeners to opportunities/upcoming workshops. The show would be uploaded afterwards in youtube/podcast format ensuring accessibility for urban residents, repeat listeners and provide an online platform that facilitates discussion and fosters a collaborative learning culture.  As a result, the hub aims to achieve multiple objectives: i) Inspire girls towards STEM careers and promote them as viable paths. ii) Provide quality tutoring as a means to plug any existing knowledge gaps, reinforce concepts iii) Achieve maximum reach in the community, both in rural and urban areas, thus bridging the rural-urban divide and providing equal attention to all girls. iv) Provide a platform to inform girls on opportunities, and upcoming Workshops/Spinoff projects. Spinoff projects could include much-needed digital literacy workshops for young girls/women. v) Ensuring true gender equality as any tutorial element would be equally beneficial in providing quality education to young boys. vi) Use uploaded podcasts to provide content access to urban residents, repeat listeners and facilitate discussion and collaborative learning among listeners.