Cracking the Glass Ceiling: Promoting Young Women to Science Education

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In high school, few girls major in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). This is especially true for young women who grow up in underprivileged areas and societies, which tend to be more gender-traditional. Many young women, who have potential in STEM subjects, are therefore limited in future career choices, success and influence.

Cracking the Glass Ceiling is a unique initiative run by "Alliance - Kol Israel Haverim" as a response to a need that arose during the pedagogical work in the social periphery of Israel. It is designed to offer a window for a better future for these girls. The program is aimed at young women in junior high and high school (ages 14-18). Often, the environment in which they grow up in does not encourage them towards making basic academic decisions early on that will secure their future. They suffer from a lack of academic female role-models, which minimizes their ambitions, even when they have the talent and ability to succeed.



The program is a comprehensive process, lasting over five years, guiding the young women in three paths simultaneously:

 • Ambition
Raising the bar for the young women themselves in education and career. This is achieved through personal encounters with successful women in the world of STEM.
• Success
Strengthening self-efficacy through empowerment workshops in different fields.
• Excellence
Improving academic achievements in junior high school and paving the way for a scientific majoring in high school. This is done through extra-curricular lessons and guiding the math and science teachers.



Goals and Objectives

General goals of the program:
 To advance young women to scholastic excellence with emphasis on sciences
 To raise the rate of young women who graduate from high-school with a quality matriculation diploma that will serve as the key to advanced studies
 To raise self-esteem and to strengthen self-belief in the abilities of each young woman
 To give the young women the tools and courage to set high personal goals and accomplish them
 To open new horizons of knowledge and challenge the participating young women
 To expose the young women to role-models: top female scientists and women in top positions in Hi-tech companies and scientific facilities

Measurable objectives:

 At least 80% of the participating female 9th graders will choose a scientific major for high school.
 At least 80% of the participating female 9th graders will choose at least one scientific major for the Bagrut exams, and at least 40% will choose two scientific majors
 At least 75% of participating 10th graders will study advanced mathematics

Evaluation and monitoring

sodkotSince its foundation, the program undergoes a professional, annual external evaluation, available to all involved. The evaluation process is both qualitative and quantitative. The program is also monitored by a steering committee comprised of experts in science and education, headed by Dr. Gabriella Gafni, formerly the Israeli ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency and today a member of KIAH's board of directors. The evaluation and steering committee allow us to monitor our progress, maintain achievements and improve our program where needed. Following are some results from the 2013-2014 school year:

  •  90% of participants were chosen to study advanced maths upon entering high school (see chart to the right)
  •  87% of participants chose to major in at least one scientific subject
  •  59.9% of participants – more than half - chose to major in two scientific subjects
  •  An average sense of self-efficacy of 6.10 on a scale of 1-7 (N = 429)



Video: “Cracking the Glass Ceiling”

Presentation: “Cracking the Glass Ceiling”

Video: “Cracking the Glass Ceiling”

Video: “Cracking the Glass Ceiling”


More Videos:

Cracking the Glass Ceiling event in Bat-Yam - May 2013

Cracking the Glass Ceiling Quiz

Cracking the Glass Ceiling QUIZ 2015