University of Oulu, 2017

Building the future of Latin America: engaging women into STEM


Project description

Nowadays, a major participation of women in society can be evidenced; however, these advancements have not occurred in the same proportion in all countries or in all sectors of society. For example, in STEM professions the participation of women remains low. Latin-America (LA) has a great need for analytical and systematic studies capable of obtaining quality data that allows the generation of comparable statistics and indicators which show the actual situation of women, as well as their progress. Although some available data shows a high proportion of women in university education, is important to notice that this distribution is uneven; women are vast majority in certain areas (social sciences, health sciences, economics and administration), but they are minority in STEM. The participation rates of women in science and engineering courses are substantially and consistently lower than those of men. Therefore, the problem of the gender gap remains in force worldwide, especially in STEM professions, which have a high math component. Addressing the gender inequality problem is not only a human rights issue. In general, the greater participation of women is related to economic growth, the promotion of human development, the strengthening of the competitiveness of the region and the increment of productivity. Much more critical is to address this problem in the perspective of STEM areas, since they are determinants to the knowledge society. The problem is complex since it starts in early childhood and evolves throughout basic, middle and higher education; to the extent that the proportion of women entering in the STEM area is lower, the greater the gender gap. UNESCO has confirmed, during the preparation of the W-STEM proposal the lack of contribution of Higher Education Institutions (HEI) to address the challenges as most actions remains at the public policy level. In this way, building bridges between both is a need to be covered. This project aims to develop concrete actions under the Erasmus + Priority for modernizing the government, the management and the operation of HEI in LA, improving the access and democratization of Young women in STEM programs.

Project coordinator

Other university or unit


Universidad de Salamanca, España (USAL), coordinator
Universidad del Norte, Colombia (UNINORTE)
Oulu University, Finland (OULU)
Politecnico di Torino, Italy (POLITO)
Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland (DIT)
Nothern Regional College, Reino Unido, UK (NRC)
Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey, México (ITESM)
Universidad de Guadalajara, México (UDG)
Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María, Chile (USM)
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Chile (PUCV)
Universidad Tecnológica de Bolívar, (UTB)
Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica (ITCR)
Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR)
Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja, Ecuador (UTPL)
Universidad Técnica del Norte, Ecuador (UTN)

Associated Partner


Mervi Heikkinen.jpg

Mervi Heikkinen

University Researcher