Launch of Girls4Tech™ in Saudi Arabia to inspire young girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – To mark international women’s day, Mastercard has underlined its commitment to empowering girls and women in Saudi Arabia by partnering with the King Abdullah Financial District Development & Management Company (KAFD DMC) to introduce its signature Girls4Tech™ program.

Girls4Tech™ connects the foundations of Mastercard’s business to STEM principles. Created in conjunction with curriculum experts and Mastercard’s top engineers, the program’s curriculum and activities are based on global science and math standards. Mastercard, supported by K­AFD DMC, UN Global Compact and UNESCO, in partnership with Misk Schools, will empower girls across the Kingdom to build crucial technology skills, futureproofing them for success in a tech-driven world.

Marking the first cohort to participate in the program in Saudi Arabia will be young girls from Misk Schools, setting a new standard for non-profit private education in the Kingdom. Established in 2016 to engage and empower young learners for the future by becoming creative innovators, Misk Schools today provides a PreK-12 curriculum that focuses on the holistic development of each student.

Mastercard first introduced Girls4Tech in 2014 with the aim of inspiring and preparing young girls ages 8-16 years old for careers in science and technology and the program has subsequently been rolled out to thousands of girls across the Middle East and Africa. It provides young female students access to an interactive, hands-on curriculum based on science, technology, engineering and math.

“Saudi Arabia is undergoing significant economic and cultural transformation and Mastercard is at the forefront of these efforts. As part of our commitment to unlocking the power of the female economy, we are rolling out our Girls4Tech™ program to empower young Saudi talent to reach their full potential. Technology is a key enabler of future economic growth, and we look forward to our partnership with KAFD DMC to nurture the next generation of STEM leaders”, said Maria Medvedeva, Country Business Manager, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, Mastercard.

“As a modern financial district established to serve as a pillar of Saudi Arabia’s growth, we are pleased to have partnered with Mastercard to launch the technology company’s STEM program in the Kingdom,” explained Gautam Sashittal, Chief Executive Officer at KAFD DMC. “Unlocking the full potential of women in the economy is expected to increase global gross domestic product by 26% by 2025, contributing up to US $28 trillion to the global annual GDP. This innovative offering will empower young girls and women to fulfil their potential, while enabling the diversification of the national economy and safeguarding our long-term future.”

“Misk Schools is delighted to participate in Mastercard Girls4Tech in Saudi Arabia from the very beginning”, said Rebecca Layton-Short, Misk Girls’ Schools Principal. “We are committed to empowering and inspiring our female students in the innovative and interconnected fields of science and technology. Misk Schools aims to prepare our students to be leaders of tomorrow, so that they can serve their nation and the world. Girls4Tech program will very much play a part in helping us to achieve those ambitious goals.”

Further supporting the program, UN Global Compact in Saudi Arabia, in partnership with the UNESCO GCC office will run sessions addressing education and the workplace of the future.

“Businesses and schools play a key role in shaping the skills and mindsets of future business leaders and can be powerful drivers of corporate sustainability. These kinds of initiatives will help transform business and management education, research and thought leadership globally, while promoting awareness about the Sustainable Development Goals, and developing the responsible business leaders of tomorrow,” added Ibrahim Alhelali, Executive Director of the Global Compact Network in Saudi Arabia.

By providing real life and hands-on activities for each concept, Mastercard employees acting as volunteers, deliver activities and curriculum built on global science and math standards. It incorporates Mastercard’s deep expertise in technology and innovation, enabling students to discover a range of STEM careers, such as fraud detective, data scientist and software engineer.

To date, the inquiry-based STEM program has reached over 3.5 million girls between the ages of 8 and 16 in 60 countries, and Mastercard has further committed to reach 5 million girls globally by 2025.

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