​Emma Watson backs female STEM scholarships

Emma Watson has given her backing to a University of Waterloo scholarship programme that will award $288,000 to 24 female STEM students over the next four years.


The 2015 University of Waterloo HeForShe IMPACT Scholarship recipients. Top row (left to right): Anqi Yang, Jenny Ma, Sally Muth. Bottom row (left to right): Zhuo Yu, Anya Forestell, Sarah Muth.
The 2015 University of Waterloo HeForShe IMPACT Scholarship recipients. Top row (left to right): Anqi Yang, Jenny Ma, Sally Muth. Bottom row (left to right): Zhuo Yu, Anya Forestell, Sarah Muth.

The programme is part of the UN HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 framework, designed to promote gender equality by engaging men in removing the social and cultural barriers that prevent women from achieving their potential. Six students applying to STEM programmes will benefit from scholarships every year, receiving $12,000 each for the duration of their studies.

“I’m so inspired by the University of Waterloo’s efforts to achieve gender equality in our lifetimes,” said actor Emma Watson, a UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador. “Their commitment to women in STEM is unparalleled. This scholarship programme is a perfect example of how the HeForShe movement is generating tangible change around the world.”

The HeForShe initiative was launched by Watson and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in September 2014. Waterloo is currently one of 10 universities around the world involved in the programme, working alongside UN Women, the United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women.

Emma Watson is a UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador
Emma Watson is a UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador

“With an estimated 90 per cent of all future jobs requiring ICT skills, and with climate change and clean technology sectors representing a 6.4 trillion dollar opportunity in the next decade, nurturing women in STEM careers is a vital investment – in them and in our future”, said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, executive director of UN Women.

“With these scholarships, we have the chance to establish greater gender balance in STEM fields, ensuring that women offer relevant skills to future employers and have a solid path to both academic leadership positions and creative scientific careers.”

This week also saw the finalists revealed for the 2015 Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards. Women currently represent just six per cent of the engineering workforce in the UK – the lowest in Europe.

The awards aim “to banish the engineering stereotypes of hard hats and greasy pipes” and change the perception that engineering is only a career for men. This year’s finalists range in age from 21 to 35 and work for companies including Siemens and Jaguar Land Rover.