More women and girls in Azerbaijan are getting involved in science

as UNDP’s STEM mentorship programme continues building communities of support. Over the past year we have held a whole series of mentoring sessions, thanks to an amazing group of thirty female mentors and their mentees.

October 13, 2022

Only when women and girls are creators, owners, and leaders of science, technology and innovation can humankind hope to harness our full capacity for scientific and technological progress.

Bridging the gender gap in the learning, teaching and practice of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is vital to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and for creating infrastructure, services and solutions that work for all people.

This is why, two years ago, we set out to inspire the next generation of women and girls in Azerbaijan to engage with STEM.

We launched a new mentorship programme to support women and girls in Azerbaijan interested in pursuing careers in STEM.

The new mentorship program was developed in partnership with Azerbaijani Women in Science (AWIS) organization and is being managed by the colleagues from this organization. This cooperation contributes to the development of ecosystem in general.

With this programme our main goal was to help young female professionals and students working or studying in STEM by providing them with the tools and advice they need to address challenges they face in their education and their careers.

Globally, women comprise only 30% of people employed in STEM industries, and this percentage is similar in Azerbaijan. This is why our mentorship programme has focused on connecting role models from STEM fields with younger generations to help bridge the gap.

Over the past year we have held a whole series of mentoring sessions, thanks to an amazing group of thirty female mentors and their mentees. These mentoring sessions were held twice a month throughout a period of nine months and resulted in every single one of our mentees getting either an internship or a full-time job in a STEM field.

To help raise awareness among the general public, we held ten webinars, involving about 40 specialists covering the many aspects and benefits of STEM education.

We also brought together representatives of the government, CSOs and the private sector to a special roundtable on the ‘Role of Women in STEM fields’.

This roundtable proved to be a real game-changer. It helped us build new partnerships with the private sector and create new internship and job opportunities for young women. We also started taking both women and men role models to the rural regions of Azerbaijan to engage directly with parents and encourage that support comes from home.

And also, as our pilot platform proved to be successful, all key players in the ecosystem decided to adopt it and use it as the national go-to-platform for mentorship.

Due to all this interest our mentorship programme generated, we expanded quite rapidly and now have a total of 300 young women enrolled as mentees.

We will now introduce new elements to our platform, including:

1. Psychological training for participants to learn about mental health, physical and emotional fatigue, inner motivation, awareness, and stress management techniques.

2. Mentoring support for women in STEM to help participants prepare CVs, motivation letters and application forms, as well as information about internship programmes, interview preparation, and mentorship from successful women in STEM to help learn about important aspects of STEM careers

3. Coaching sessions during the project's final phase to give participants the opportunity to improve their project management, time management, HR training, interview preparation, and pitching skills.

We are now looking for new mentors to join us on this exciting journey to help bring more women into science --for the good of people and the planet.

If you are looking for a mentor or want to be a mentor yourself and help more girls and women get into STEM, then get in touch with us.