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We need all talents to help create a better world, and for the chemical sector especially there is a large need for more STEM profiles. STEM stands for education in Science – Technology – Engineering – Mathematics and indicates a wide array of training and education programmes preparing for those competences.

The largest growth potential for STEM lies with girls and with children from underprivileged backgrounds: they represent below 30 percent of all students in STEM, on all levels of education. That’s why Janssen Pharmaceutica BeNeLux, part of Johnson&Johnson, launched the WISTEM²D project (Women in Science Technology Engineering Mathematics Manufacturing and Design).

This is a stakeholder partnership for Belgium to accelerate girls into STEM education. A scalable program is developed that can be translated to other countries on EMEA level. With this project based on partnerships and impact on society, Janssen Pharmaceutica/J&J has been elected as one of the SDG Voices 2019 by FIDO (Federaal Instituut voor Duurzame Ontwikkeling).

Different research and talks with women in STEM fields indicate that we need to do a better job in informing on what kind of jobs they can do, and how they can make a real difference by studying STEM. The Janssens WISTEM2D program will start from this diagnosis, but will not only focus on girls, as is it aim to be an inclusive approach.

We want to inspire and ignite a spark for STEM amongst 10-14 years old girls and boys across Belgium. Our ambition is to build a tactical program reaching 50.000 girls over a period of 3 years. We do not want to interfere in the school curriculum as such. Instead we will create a multiple touch point inspiration journey, engaging parents, teachers and peers.

We will start from challenges developed by the partners or by kids or teachers. The program will use strong video storytelling by female role models, explaining how studying STEM can help them make a real difference in the world. Our tactical plan will contain both online and offline activities in schools, on tour and inside the partner companies. We will start building from existing programs run by the partners and scale them by connecting the dots and reinforcing communications. We will share responsibilities and successes together as a coalition. We will translate our efforts to political influencers to scale the project, also outside Belgium.