Narrowing the Gender Divide in STEM industries - Empowering Girls to Transform the Labour Market

What can be done to encourage young women to take up science as a career? How UNDP partners with the business community on the journey to ensure equal participation of women in digital transformation processes?

February 11, 2024


Nowadays, full, and equal participation and leadership of women and girls in the science and technology communities is more important than ever. It is time to recognize women’s contributions in research and innovation, smash stereotypes and defeat discrimination against women and girls in science.

But that cannot be done while lacking the sustainable business ecosystems and prosperous private sector. Fostering the potential of business digitalization and innovation as drivers of change, modernizing traditional industries and labour market, and offering new growth prospects for companies has been crucial for the growth of the private sector and new attractive job opportunities. 

Building partnerships for sustainable support  

UNDP teamed up with the private sector in providing opportunities for 40 young female students in obtaining digital skill trainings to fight in the fast-pacing world on equal basis. Additionally, 20 students were focusing on Building Informative Methodology (BIM) trainings, as the newest trend in the construction industry. Application of BIM software and principles enables companies to build with resilience, having in mind the environmental challenges and energy efficacy aspects. 

This transformative project not only is addressing the pressing challenges of our time but also paved the way for a brighter and more resilient future for our community. 

The collaboration among the private company INS Intelligent Network Solutions (, the Universities, training providers-Future Skills Center, iCan, Semos and mentors is a shining example of the incredible power of partnership efforts to ensure quality and interdisciplinary approach. 


“This initiative is truly remarkable for its unwavering commitment to empowering female students in fields that have traditionally been male dominated. By providing specialized training in BIM technology and hands-on experience in designing 3D models of iconic landmarks, such as Kenzo Tange's visionary plans after the devastating earthquake, these female students are shattering gender barriers while making substantial contributions to the construction industry.” – stated Igor Pupaleski, Co-founder & Business Development Director of INS.

This initiative is not just about training; it's about paving the way for a more inclusive and diverse workforce where talent knows no gender boundaries.

Digital Education for Effective Labor Market Activation 

Today’s women and girls continue to face gender-based barriers that prevent them from accessing and utilizing technology and digital tools at the same level as boys and men.

We live in a world of constant transition and transformation wherein practicing and testing out new technologies and ideas is key to creating an ocean of opportunities for women and girls both now and in the future.   According to the World Economic Forum, 65 percent of today’s children will one day work in a job that does not exist yet! 

It is estimated that North Macedonia loses about 16% of GDP annually due to gender gaps in activity, self-employment and entrepreneurship. Exclusion of women from traditionally “male professions” such as engineering, has social and ideological bases such as masculine culture of professions, and structurally starts from professional organizations and educational institutions and continues to emerge in working life and workspaces.

This is especially relevant as technologies are not gender neutral and consequently, it is important that women and men are both engaged in education, decision making processes, development and use of technologies, and benefit from their outcomes. Creating supportive environment but also environment that encourages female entrepreneurship is crucial: women need greater access to finance and all the support routinely available to men.


Digital empowerment in the STEM industries should be guided by the principle of engaging girls and women as active, capable partners at workplace, not merely passive recipients, or targets. It is important to work together with girls to strengthen and develop their capacities to use and creation new world with the technology and digital tools.

The time has come to level the playing field for women. The world’s ability to bust out of the economic doldrums depends on it.

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