Broadening access to STEM

Submitted by idimitra on Thu, 06/14/2018 - 10:53

Back in 2015, CERN’s Diversity Office launched an initiative targeting high school science teachers: a 20-hour group session work on the topic of gender inclusive teaching was introduced at CERN’s yearly International Teacher Programme. Its aim? To raise awareness within the teaching community and help build competencies to spark the interest of both female and male students, in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

Following this acclaimed initiative, the Diversity Office is now rolling out a 45-minute interactive module in CERN's National Teacher Programmes, reaching out to more teachers visiting CERN.

“One of the things I will take home is, that an environment of collaboration and open discussion, rather than competition, can do wonders and can engage not only more girls, but also my more introverted male students.”

(I. Molefi, Physics Teacher and participant in the 2016 International Teacher programme)



In this framework, the Diversity Office organised a "Gender Equality in Education” workshop on 5 June, inviting academics and field experts. Among the invited speakers were Francesca Borgonovi, Senior Analyst at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD); Beth Bramley, Gender Balance Manager at the Institute of Physics (IOP); and Isabelle Collet, Associate Researcher in the Institute of Gender studies at the University of Geneva (UNIGE). On behalf of CERN, Teacher Programmes manager Jeff Wiener and Diversity analyst Ioanna Koutava also presented the Organization’s activities.

Participants were introduced to statistics from the 35 OECD countries of the difference in performance and behaviour between female and male students; initiatives launched by IOP to improve gender balance in education in the United Kingdom and research findings around stereotypes and educational practices.

Francesca Borgonovi, Senior Analyst from OECD presenting the results
of the OECD report “ABC of Gender Equality in Education” (Image: J. Ordan/CERN)

During the workshop, the Diversity Office opened a call to people working at CERN, to take part in giving the 45-minute “Gender Equality in Education” presentation to teachers visiting CERN. If you are interested, please contact

The workshop was attended by 110 participants from around CERN as well as a group of Finnish teachers that were visiting CERN. The slides of the presentations are available to people working at CERN, here.