With a US$10,000 prize from premium partner Juniper Networks, World Robot Olympiad hopes to encourage more young women to become future inventors and scientists.
Many girls are put off by science when they hit puberty. An English study from 2019 found that girls lack confidence in their ability in STEM subjects and are less likely to think they will end up working in them when they leave school. We see the same tendencies in World Robot Olympiad™. The average number of girls participating in the past ﬁve International Finals was just 17 percent. By introducing a 'Girls in STEM' competition, where national organizers can enter their best ideas to increase the number of girls in WRO® we hope to change that.
The award from Juniper Networks will be split in two. The winner of each will receive a US$5,000 prize. The focus of the ﬁrst competition is past projects, where national organizers have already succeeded in onboarding more girls. One example of such a project is the 'More Girls in Robotics' campaign that WRO Switzerland did earlier this year. Result: 10 new all-girls teams. The second award will be given to the best new idea that might encourage more girls to do WRO competitions.
All national organizers in WRO - more than 75 countries – can enter both the competitions.
A panel appointed and chaired by Juniper Networks will review all entries. Decisions are based on what feels most innovative, thoughtful and has the best potential to be used by other countries. National organizers can join the competition up until October 1, 2020.
Coding a ticket to the best jobs
You might think, that status quo is fine, and that girls don't have to get into robotics, which uniquely teaches physics, maths, engineering, coding, electronics, project management, teamwork and problem solving. It's not. And they do. These skills will be a ticket to some of the best jobs for the next generation of employees and innovators. So much is digital now, from smart communities and smart cities to automated industry and Internet of Things. Young women should have equal access to this growing part of the workplace. COVID-19 lockdowns has showed us that digital communication and staying connected is more important than ever.
If more girls are introduced to World Robot Olympiad and discover, that they can learn and master coding and robotics while having fun, we can inspire more girls to go after a STEM education.
Juniper Networks is directing the Girls in STEM competitions at national organizers, because our national organizers have a big chance of making a significant difference among the girls in our community.
WRO Association will look for inspiration in the submitted projects as we continuously seek to refine our concepts.
If you want to know more about the English study, Forbes has a great article on the matter:
It's Belief, Not Ability, That Makes Girls Think STEM Is Not For Them