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Asia Foundation Launches STEM ConnectHER: A Pan-Regional Network-of-Networks to Support Early-in-Career Women in STEM

Program Year: 2022

The Asia Foundation has launched the STEM ConnectHER initiative as a pan-regional “network-of-networks” to connect and aims to support early-in-career women in STEM through mentorship, speaker series, and resources for leadership and capacity development. The pilot program involves member organizations in Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, Cambodia, and Malaysia. 

Based on a recently launched report produced by The Asia Foundation in partnership with Zendesk, women’s STEM networks play an essential  role in overcoming barriers and advancing opportunities for women and girls; and in creating and sustaining a space for sharing and support. The pandemic threatens to widen already serious gaps in women’s participation in the labor force and STEM fields. Thus a focused approach to addressing the underrepresentation of women in STEM and in leadership roles is essential to a post-Covid-19 recovery. 

With the launch of STEM ConnectHER, the aim is for the collaboration between the private sector and local in-country member organizations will demonstrate a commitment to the network-of-networks that, in turn, strengthens support for women’s leadership in STEM.

“This is an incredible opportunity for women professionals across Asia to connect with industry talent from leading global organizations,” said Robin Bush, country representative of The Asia Foundation in Malaysia. 

Working with local organizations such as steAm Inc and Waffle in Japan, FTW Foundation in the Philippines, and SgWIS (Singapore Women in Science) in Singapore, to name a few, the STEM ConnectHER umbrella network brings together young professionals from the five participating countries to exchange ideas, skills and experiences.

To date, the initiative has secured partnerships with AT&T, Visa, Common Purpose, Cisco, VMWare, and Zendesk to provide mentors, lead monthly speaker series and provide access to learning resources on topics including cybersecurity,  cloud, and virtualization, application development as well as customer experience. 

‍STEM ConnectHER is part of The Asia Foundation’s Future Skills Alliance – a broad coalition of partners from the public and private sectors working together to deliver future skills at scale. 

Related topics: The Future of Work

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