Meet EIT Community Education: Girls Go Circular

EIT Community Education is bolstered by a firm dedication to making big changes in education that open up opportunities for students, scholars, and professionals working and studying in Europe. One such EIT Community Education activity is the Girls Go Circular Programme and its objective is to unlock the potential of girls in STEM.

Bridging the digital gender gap

Even though women make up 51% of the EU population, the gender gap, especially within the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), is an ongoing issue in Europe, with only 1 in 3 STEM graduates and 1 in 5 ICT specialists being women.

This STEM gender gap is contributing to the evident and growing talent gap within all industry sectors across Europe. Therefore, reducing the digital gender divide and increasing women’s participation in digital technology is crucial for Europe’s economic sustainability and growth, potentially generating an additional annual EUR 16 billion.

The key to driving effective innovation is to increase inclusivity, because enhanced diversity, especially in leadership roles, catalyses revenue growth, sharpens problem-solving capabilities and fortifies team dynamics.

What is Girls Go Circular?

Girls Go Circular is an EU-funded education programme that equips girls aged 14-19 across Europe with digital and entrepreneurial skills through an online learning platform on the circular economy. In just 3 years, Girls Go Circular has trained over 40,000 schoolgirls, making it a key part of the EIT Community Education portfolio, which consists of dynamic education programmes targeting learners of all ages. Through a “Learner Lifecycle” approach, EIT Community Education offers cross-cutting opportunities and fosters peer-learning among pupils, students, scholars, professionals, and partners working and studying in Europe. An innovative learner can begin their journey as an inventive teenager in the Girls Go Circular programme acquiring impactful skills.

Entrepreneurial Skills

Through challenge-based exercises, students learn new abilities to support them in becoming the change-makers of tomorrow. For example, how to identify business opportunities, take initiative, work in teams, improve confidence, and train analytical and problem-solving skills.

Digital Skills

To thrive in the digital era, young people must be able to competently evaluate and manage information on the internet, interact through different online tools and develop digital content. Girls Go Circular equips learners with these competencies and raises awareness of online threats and etiquette.

Circular Economy

The circular economy complements digital learning and provides a unique lens to raise the students’ environmental awareness. And thanks to the cross-cutting nature of the topics addressed, students are empowered to reflect on the societal challenges of our time and prepare to be the leaders who will build a more sustainable future for Europe.

The Girls Go Circular programme also supports closing the gender gap in STEM and ICT by empowering girls to become agents of change in the digital and green transition, and therefore contributes to gender equality policy objectives, specifically the Digital Education Action Plan 2021-2027 (Action 13) and the New European Innovation Agenda.

“The EIT is a champion of women-led innovation and entrepreneurship, pioneering, supporting, and celebrating initiatives that build a more inclusive innovation landscape. We are extremely proud of the Girls Go Circular programme who have reached their target of training 40,000 young girls across 31 countries in record timing. What this shows, is that we have much more work to do, and the demand is high. Young women and girls will be building the technologies of tomorrow and they can count on the EIT to support them!“Nektarios Tavernarakis, Chair of the EIT Governing Board

Women and Girls in STEM Forum

Every year, Girls Go Circular – in collaboration with the European Commission and the EIT – organises the Women and Girls in STEM Forum. The fourth edition will take place on 10 October 2024 in Budapest, Hungary. This annual event has become a platform for leading voices of students, teachers, and policymakers – attracting thousands of participants – to identify key actions to bridge the gender gap in STEM and ICT and empower girls to pursue their career goals in science and technology

This year’s Forum dives into the world of Artificial Intelligence for their Student Challenge 2024 to explore its potential to solve real-life societal challenges ethically and creatively. Through interactive mentoring sessions, participants and alumnae have access to leading experts of the field in a valuable exchange aimed to boost confidence by connecting girls and young women with tangible career options.