The Women’s Foundation, founded in 2004, is a leading organization in HK dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls by challenging gender stereotypes, empowering women in poverty and advancing women leaders, by the means of conducting research, running community programs and engaging in education and advocacy. They engage both women and men as supporters and drivers of positive change for gender equality.
The four main pillars of their programs are:
1) Community Program for Youth: focusing on youth empowerment and challenging gender stereotypes through the implementation of sustainable programs and initiatives. An example is Girls Go Tech Program that we suggest to fund in this grant; another example is the T.E.E.N. Program (Talent, Empowerment, Equality and Networking) that provided leadership and gender awareness trainings as well as mentoring (by undergraduates) to underprivileged adolescents. The program is currently continuing as T.E.E.N. Alumni Program focusing on investing in the leadership development of the alumni.
2) Community Program for Marginalised Women: aiming to create positive and measurable change for women’s economic self-reliance.
3) Pipeline Initiatives: aiming to increase number of women in decision-making and leadership roles by engaging both male and female. A powerful example is their Mentoring Program for Women Leaders where they placed over 1,100 professional women in rewarding mentoring relationships alongside personal development. Whilst they also pay emphasis on leveraging male influence on gender equality within businesses via another program called Male Allies Initiative.
4) Research, Advocacy and Communications: focusing on gender issues in HK affecting women and girls. Campaign examples include She Objects with an award-winning documentary challenging consumers and content creators on reflecting media’s portrayal of female and gender issues, and most recently #MakePeopleCount campaign was launched to raise awareness of sexual violence in HK and call for urgent changes to legislation, employment policies and the education curriculum. TWF also have completed a number of researches, including one called Girls and STEM Education in Hong Kong that strives to explore factors affecting girls’ choices on STEM subjects and offering suggestions in gender balancing.
EMpower’s 1st grant to The Women’s Foundation Limited (TWF) will enable TWF to run and strengthen their Girls Go Tech (GGT) program for 700 girls and young women 14 to 18 years old. The GGT program consists of: 1) Self-directed online courses on STEM related topics (e.g. 3D modelling, Coding) offered on an online platform where more than 30 courses are currently available. Girls choose courses of their interest and complete them at their own pace. 2) Real-life activities related to STEM/tech such as company visits, a hackathon and STEM-related career guidance sessions (e.g. workshops on CV development and interview skills, meeting with female leaders and role models). 3) Online tutoring/tutor support activities, a pilot in the frame of the GGT program solely funded by EMpower: Girls can access for the first time online, personalised, and individual support through email as well as tutor workshops directly related to course topics. EMpower’s catalytic funding for this pilot component will allow TWF to explore best-fit tutoring and monitor impact to offer the most effective ways of supporting girl participants in the future.
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