Cybersecurity and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are two of the hottest technology fields today, with job opportunities continuing to grow across both. However, worldwide, women make up less than 15 percent of the professionals in these high-tech jobs, and only 1 in 20 girls opts for a STEM-based career.
To help narrow the gender gap, Mastercard has been cultivating young technology enthusiasts as part of its signature education platform, Girls4Tech. Currently in its fifth year, this hands-on, inquiry-based STEM program has reached more than 400,000 girls (ages 8-12) in 25 countries, more than doubling its established 2017 goal. Girls4Tech was first launched in the UAE in 2015, and has seen numerous Mastercard employees acting as mentors to local students ever since. As Mastercard marks the 5th anniversary of the program, the company builds on a successful track record of impact with an even more ambitious commitment to reach 1M girls by 2025.
Mastercard created Girls4Tech in April 2014 to inspire young girls to pursue STEM careers through a fun, engaging curriculum built around global science and math standards. The program incorporates Mastercard’s deep expertise in payments technology and innovation, and includes topics such as encryption, fraud detection, data analysis and digital convergence.
“Driving inclusion, equal opportunity, and women’s empowerment are key priorities at Mastercard. Investing in a more inclusive future is not only the right thing to do, but the smart thing to do. Women are the driving force behind global economic growth, and their contributions will continue to elevate communities and society as a whole,” says Beatrice Cornacchia, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Communications, Middle East and Africa at Mastercard.
“Through our Girls4Tech program, we’re extending our commitment to the next generation of women leaders and developing a strong pipeline of talent by encouraging girls to embrace the subjects that will prepare them for the workforce of tomorrow.”
New Curriculum Unveiled
As technology skills continue to evolve, the Girls4Tech program is launching a new curriculum to give girls deeper exposure to the growing fields of cybersecurity and AI.
Furthermore, to continue the engagement with girls who have already participated in the program, Mastercard is launching Girls4Tech 2.0. Designed for older students, ages 13-16, the new program aims to keep girls excited about STEM throughout the critical high school years and also emphasizes important 21st century skills – such as collaboration, creativity and communication – as they work in teams to apply their technical knowledge to solve real-world challenges.
Impact Highlights from the First 5 Years
- To date, Girls4Tech has reached over 400,000 girls, with events in 25 countries and 6 continents.
- The program has engaged more than 3,800 employee mentors worldwide.
- Mastercard has created partnerships with Scholastic, Be Better China, Singapore Committee for UN Women, Major League Baseball, R&A, and Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship to further scale the program and offer STEM skills in unique ways to girls ages 8-12.
- The program has achieved global reach with the curriculum translated into 12 languages.
To learn more about the program,
please visit the Girls4Tech
 2017 Global Information Security Workforce Study: Women in Cybersecurity
 U.S. Department of Commerce, Women in STEM 2017 Update; World Economic Forum, Gender Parity and Human Capital Report 2017