Serhii Tokarev, the initiator of STEM is FEM, a Ukrainian educational project, reveals that more than half of the project’s female participants credit the initiative for influencing their subsequent educational choices. In a recent interview with Ukrainian media, Tokarev shared insights into the project’s impact and highlighted that 17 percent of the girls experienced a radical shift in their educational goals. Stemming from a comprehensive survey conducted by the project team at the end of 2023, this data sheds light on the significant role STEM is FEM plays in shaping the academic trajectories of Ukrainian girls.
STEM is FEM focuses on promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines among Ukrainian girls. Acknowledging its impact, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine honored the project with the prestigious title “Honorary Ambassador of Ukraine in the field of scientific and educational diplomacy” in 2023. Over its five years of existence, STEM is FEM has successfully brought together more than 500 participants into a supportive community.
Most notably, girls typically join the project between the ages of 16-20, providing a unique opportunity to observe their journey from high school to university and eventually entering the workforce in STEM specialties. Serhii Tokarev emphasizes that the project’s educational activities inspire young Ukrainian women to pursue their dreams, break gender stereotypes, and emerge as the next generation of professionals in science and technology.
The survey conducted by STEM is FEM revealed that 96 percent of community participants expressed a desire for a mentor—a successful woman in their chosen industry to share knowledge and experiences. Additionally, 97 percent of girls aspire to intern in their preferred specialty, often gaining such opportunities through the project’s organized educational events.
An illustrative example is the 2023 educational course on “Urbanism” where participants like Renata Seyfullina, a civil engineering student at Lviv Polytechnic, found their passion and even decided to transfer to the Kharkiv School of Architecture. Other course graduates, Anfisa Kaida, Daria Koval, and Natalia Liuklian, engaged in internships with the non-governmental organization UrbanReform, contributing to the post-war reconstruction of Okhtyrka.
Furthermore, 55 percent of STEM is FEM girls opted for STEM education, with members like Olena Petryshyn studying at Milton Academy and Margarita Perepelytsia achieving recognition at the International Environmental Genius Olympiad. These success stories exemplify how STEM is FEM events provide participants with the opportunity to shape their future professions, acquire knowledge, find community support, and develop motivation to pursue careers within STEM disciplines.