It is a well-known fact that women and girls have historically been underrepresented in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The WISE Statistics 2012 reports that women make up only 17% of the STEM workforce.

Of particular concern is the fact that some 1,300,000 people with technical skills will be required by 2020, and current graduate levels in STEM subjects are not sufficient to fill these vacancies. Policymakers within the EU have recently called for more to be done to attract women students to this area. For example, the European Commission sponsored a 2012-2015 campaign “Science: it’s a girl thing” designed to convince girls to pursue careers in science. In this context, the SIE commitment to increase women participation in STEM is extremely relevant.


At the 21st SIE Congress with the motto “OWN THE FUTURE. Education, your passport to a better life”, a plenary session will be devoted to “Inspirational Women in STEM”: four STEM leaders and passionate minds will speak on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This session perfectly amalgamates the 2013-2015 SIE biennium theme “Let’s go green” with the 2015-2017 biennium theme “Invest in education”, since new green technologies need a deep knowledge of STEM.


To foster a greater passion for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in young women, SIE invites Unions and Single Clubs to nominate young women between the ages of 18 and 25 years (born from 1 January 1992 to 12 July 1999) who are undertaking STEM studies and or have recently begun careers in STEM fields to attend the SIE Congress. The Union or Single Club would be expected to cover travel, accommodation and Congress expenses. Unions are also urged to encourage their clubs to sponsor additional participants.


As it would be particularly desirable to see young women from economically disadvantaged areas participate, SIE will select about 20 women from among the candidates nominated by the Unions or Single Clubs to be sponsored by SIE. The Federation has set aside a total €30,000 to cover the travel, accommodation and Congress expenses of these candidates, nominated by Unions/SCs. They will be chosen on a ‘first come, first served’ basis, whereby only one participant will be sponsored by SIE per country. However, there is no limit to the number of young women who can be supported by Unions or Clubs, although the prerequisite is always that they are studying or working in STEM fields.

Besides attending the Congress and getting to know Soroptimist, these young participants will have the opportunity to meet and pose questions to the inspirational women speakers at the Congress, who are leaders in their respective STEM field. It is recommended that Unions, SCs, and Clubs appoint a Soroptimist mentor to follow up and cultivate the contact to the young women who have attended the Congress.



How to join the SIE STEM project

  1. UNIONS, SCs and CLUBS

Please register the selected “young woman/women” by 30 April 2017 by using the online registration service available on the Congress website (Drop-Down Menu: Registration&hotels> STEM project).

A brief description of the educational qualification is requested.

A copy of the passport / identification card is mandatory.


  1. UNIONS and SCs requesting support by SIE

Please email the attached application form with a copy of the passport/identification card + brief description of the educational qualification to Secretary General and to SIE HQ   by 31 March 2017


Application form