‘What’s Next In’ podcast: How to inspire girls to pursue STEM careers

March 29, 2022 | By Siobhan Stewart

Susan Warner and Abena Danso-Manu both developed a love for STEM from their mothers. Danso-Manu’s mother, a statistics professor in Ghana, and Warner’s mother, a self-taught bookkeeper from the North Fork of Long Island, sparked a flame in their daughters that eventually connected them years later through Girls4Tech, the award-winning STEM education program that Warner founded in 2014.

In the latest episode of “What’s Next In,” Mastercard’s podcast that informally explores technology, innovation and ideas, host Vicki Hyman sits down with Danso-Manu and Warner to discuss G4T, which has now reached more than 2 million girls in 50 countries. During the conversation, they detail the importance of female representation and perspectives, their personal journeys, and the visible impact of the program.

“The original goal was to engage our employees as role models and mentors in the subjects they’re most passionate about,” Warner says. At Mastercard, these can range from cryptology and algorithms to fraud detection, biometrics and Big Data. “We want to show there’s so many fun STEM careers out there.””

According to one survey, girls and boys both say they enjoy math at similar levels, but girls are 10% less confident in their math skills. This could be due to perpetuated stereotypes, says  Danso-Manu, who remembers that the families of her grade-school classmates in Ghana were shocked when she received the “Best Math Student” award.

She recently spearheaded the first Girls4Tech program in Ghana, hoping to reach, she says, another “little Abena”: “I couldn’t stop thinking back to what an impact it would’ve had on me and my STEM journey if I was introduced to some of these concepts as early as these girls were introduced.”

To hear more from Warner and Danso-Manu, subscribe to “What’s Next In” on Apple Podcasts or stream it directly in the player above.

Siobhan Stewart, Specialist, Communications