Second Regional Meeting of Women in STEM Network

01 Jul 2022 News Women in STEM
Regional Meeting Women in STEM Network Group

The second regional meeting of the Women in STEM Network in the Western Balkans was held on September 20-21, 2022 in Budva, Montenegro.

Apart from networking, the meeting focused on two elements.

It allowed participants to exchange public policies of interest for the Women in STEM Network.

Second, to reflect on existing opportunities and how to intensify cooperation within regional networks.

Day 1

During the first day we have seen several connected panel sessions.

The day started with a high-level session that featured Ms Biljana Šćepanović, Minister of Science of Montenegro who briefly shared her career path as a civil engineer.

Later, Ms Daniela Gasparikova, UNDP Resident Representative to Montenegro mentioned the UNDP's commitment to pursue supporting women's economic empowerment in the region.

In a video message, Mr Branko Ružić, Minister of Education, Science and Technological Development of Serbia acknowledged the importance of additional involvement of women in various industries.

Women in STEM Network panel 1

Similarly, the remaining panels focused on learning about ongoing work and outstanding results of the network’s members from various perspectives.

The members discussed the existing STEM-related initiatives in the region and how to harness them.

Network of Women in STEM Panel day 1

Day 2

Day 2 focused on exploring practical actions the Network should focus on. The emphasis was on further strengthening the network communication and visibility. Also, we looked into enhancing closer cooperation among women in STEM in the WB.  

Stem4all Network for Europe and Central Asia is a good example of information sharing. It has gender-disaggregated data for all WB economies. For example, the share of women and men in STEM education, STEM graduates, working in STEM fields, etc.

Unfortunately, all types of data are not fully available for all WB economies.

Network of Women in STEM Panel 2

Takeaways from the second regional meeting of the Women in STEM Network

Overall, we've realised that in-person meetings trump all types of online tools.

The Regional STEM Network provides a platform for women to connect better in the region and enhance knowledge sharing.

This includes information exchange about open tenders, donations, and existing projects.

Additionally, the Network will focus on securing links with policymakers and the private sector in particular.

The Network members agreed we should focus on doable actions that translate to measurable results in the short-term, specifically:

  1. Implement women STEM role models campaign to be prepared by the Regional Cooperation Council,
  2. Support networking through this website,
  3. Find ways to provide tailor-made gender training to the members,
  4. Encourage joint project proposal preparations to support the Network,
  5. Plan local/external events and
  6. Consider introducing a modest mentorship scheme.

As a reminder, the long-term goals are:

  1. Give women the skills and confidence to pursue STEM careers,
  2. Increase the number of women in STEM industries and
  3. Assist in the introduction of STEM education policies.

The Meeting was organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Montenegro office in coordination with the RCC.