Summary: From approximately 2003-2013, according to an article in Germany's der Spiegel magazine, only 1 in 10 first-year electrical engineering students has been a woman. The "MINT Zukunft schaffen" project (translated as "Achieving a STEM future") reports that in mathematics, technology, and science, 40% of university graduates with their first degrees in 2011 were women, which is almost double the percentage of women graduating with degrees in engineering (22.4%). The Federal Ministry of Education and Research reports that in 2000, women entering their university studies in STEM were at 21.1%, but this figure had risen to 25.8% in 2014.
While participation in STEM for women is on the rise in Germany, there is still an obvious lack of women in these fields. The statistics are comparable to Canada (where only 26.5% of women enrolled in post-secondary institutions in 2015-16 participated in math, computer, and information sciences). Anja Huth, spokeswoman for Germany's Federal Employment Agency, told der Spiegel that one problem is too many young women take an interest in what she calls "dead-end fields of study and professions." Jutta Dalhoff, director of the Centre of Excellence Women and Science (CEWS) maintains that even with the best initiatives, it's hard to get gender clichés out of people's heads.
Initiatives: Germany has and has had many initiatives to combat the problem of low participation of women in STEM. Firstly, "Komm mach MINT," whose name is a wordplay on the phrase in German "to take part in something," features a multi-faceted approach, including video podcasts, a partnership between STEM employers and the government to create more opportunities for women, and a MINT-Slam - similar to a poetry slam - in which women in STEM tell their stories. The government also organizes the "MINT-Pakt und Girls' Day" ("STEM Pact and Girls' Day"), in which the Federal Ministry of Education and Research has made a pact to involve more women and girls in STEM fields and activities. They have also designated a day (the "Girls' Day" part of the title) where organizations in the STEM fields can help girls see where they might fit in once they finish their post-secondary studies. Because it is imperative to get girls interested in STEM at early ages, the German government has also created initiatives to assist early childhood educators, such as "Kleine Forscher" ("Little Scientists"). In a project that is possibly the first of its kind, the city of Rostock in northern Germany began a webseries called "Sturm des Wissens" ("Storm of Knowledge"), which follows the story of Nele Wagner, a teenager who begins to study physics. The web soap opera was created with the goal of showing STEM fields in a positive light so that more girls will consider studying them in their school careers, and the title is a play on that of a popular soap opera in Germany.