The Zonta organization raises funds for ZAU Clubs with the aim to inspire young girls to study science-, technology-, engineering- and mathematics-related (STEM) subjects. LUMA Centre Finland, which is responsible for organizing club activities, received the first donation in the Zontian’s spring seminar in Pietarsaari (Finland) on April 27, 2019.
In Finland, there is still a clear division into female- and male-dominated professions, and a distinct difference in their salaries. Girls do well at school, but when choosing their subjects, they still avoid science-, engineering-, technology- and mathematics-related subjects, thus closing the doors to further studies at a very early stage.
Zonta International (ZI) will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2019. In honor of this occasion, ZI District 20 has decided to highlight the organization’s basic idea about improving the status of girls and women and promoting gender equality. The ZAU Campaign, started in spring 2018, aims at raising funds for the LUMA Centre Finland network to organize phenomenon-based club activities related to STEM subjects. This network has experience of STEM clubs for children and young people since 2004.
The 75,000 euro donation was given by Governor Lea Helle on behalf of the Zonta organization, and received by Maarit Mäkelä (Ph.D.) of LUMA Centre Pohjanmaa on behalf of LUMA Center Finland. The second donation will be made in Helsinki in connection with the Zontians’ centennial seminar on November 8, 2019.
“Our common ZAU project is unique and extremely important for Finland. It will generate new openings based on the latest academic research and improve our knowledge in STEM subjects,” says Maija Aksela, Professor and Director of LUMA Centre Finland. She wishes that everyone can find the joy of discovery and success.
100 clubs and 1,000 participants as a target
The enrollment of organizations for the practical ZAU club arrangements and club instructors is currently ongoing. The first clubs will start in 2019, and the activities will continue in 2020. In the Helsinki metropolitan area, two pilot clubs are already working. The campaign target is 100 clubs and 1,000 participants allover Finland in 2019–2020 as well as a new, permanent operating model for schools.
The clubs aim at attracting the interest of 10 to 12 year-old girls in STEM subjects by utilizing topics that are important to them and the latest teaching methods based on academic research in universities. Learning includes topics such as the environment and sustainable development, food and reactions, sciences and art, space and the stars, digitalization and robotics. The clubs are mainly intended for girls, but also welcoming boys.
Members of the Zonta organization attend the club activities by raising funds but also by acting as godmothers and mentors, encouraging local schools and also by being role models and scouting role models.
Text: Zonta International District 20. Photo: University of Helsinki.