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Bridging the gender gap in tech education through interactive design

An interactive robotic kit developed at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland (SUPSI) seeks to introduce children, especially girls, to science and technology. The aim is to bridge the gender gap in science education and raise critical citizens instead of passive consumers.

This content was published on February 11, 2022 - 09:00

Science and technology are universal, but the reality is that women are still a minority in professional fields related to the so-called STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics). The gender gap is particularly strong in the professions of the future, such as computer science and engineering, where women make up no more than 8%External link.

Leyla Tawfik and Serena Cangiano of SUPSI have launched EthafaExternal link, a project that aims to introduce girls aged nine to 12 to science and technical disciplines in a fun way using interactive robots.

“Our kit uses interactive stories to guide kids, especially girls, in the learning of science and all the future skills,” says Tawfik, Art Director of Ethafa.

The two co-creators realised that, even in this digital era, kids are not really aware of what’s behind technology and the devices they use daily.

The kit is designed for use in schools and at home and has been developed especially for Arab countries, such as the United Arab Emirates, which are investing heavily in technical solutions. That’s why Ethafa held a workshop with girls from local schools at the Expo 2020 in Dubai.

“We really believe in empowering people in technology instead of creating passive consumers,” says Cangiano.

International Day of Women and Girls in Science

This video belongs to a four-part series by SWI swissinfo.ch to mark the United Nations’ International Day of Women and Girls in Science on February 11.

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