Jenter og Teknologi ('Girls and Technology')

QUICK: programme-initiative

Jenter og Teknologi ('Girls and Technology')
National Centre for Science Recruitment (NCR)
Education level:
Secondary Education
Year start:
Short summary:
Norwegian companies are reporting shortages of technically skilled workers, engineers and scientists, all fields in which women are severely underrepresented. The 'Girls and Technology' programme aims to increase women's participation in these fields through the use of role-models. Originally founded as a local initiative in 2003, it has contributed significantly to addressing this issue with thousands of girls participating annually in its activities. 
Description and objectives:

Norwegian companies are reporting a major need for technologists. Technical skilled workers, engineers and scientists are in high demand, and these are all fields where women are in distinct minority. The aim of the Girls and Technology-programme is therefore to increase the number of girls that choose education within technology fields – both practical and theoretical. 


The programme was founded in 2003. A partnership consisting of several social partners and the University of Agder came together to improve the recruitment of girls to the university's technology study programs. Through events with female role models, they were able to inspire and inform girls about the possibilities within technology education. 


The share of women in technology studies in Norway remains low. Currently 3-11% of technical vocational students are women (Statistics Norway, 2015). 20% of Norwegian engineering students are women (Norwegian Centre for Research Data, 2017). In light of this, the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO) decided to upscale the project to a national level in 2016. With funding from the Ministry of Children and Equality the project has now been carried out for four years and continues in 2020. In 2018 The Norwegian Society of Engineers and Technologists (NITO) and The National Centre for STEM recruitment (NCR) joined the project to strengthen the team and expand the project further. Its objective is still to increase the share of women in technology studies. Technology in this context is defined according to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Vocational training and education is included in the project goals. The three subgoals for the project are:


  • To increase the share of women in STEM higher education
  • To Increase the share of women in technical vocational education and training
  • To Increase the share of women in technical vocational colleges


To achieve this the project is using young female role models, under education or with jobs within technology, to show and inform about the different opportunities you have as a young girl to make your first educational choices. It is also an important aim to show the variety in what technology is and how it can be be used to improve the world and contribute to a more sustainable society. Another important aspect of the project is to show the diversity of people, with different backgrounds and competence, that is necessary to develop technology suitable for all kinds of people and needs.  


The methodology that pervades all activities in the project is using young, female role models to motivate and inform about technology studies and work possibilities within technology (see related studies in background documents). The programme implements a wide variety of activities.


An annual national tour has been arranged since 2016. In 2019 the tour consisted of 17 separate events all over Norway. The target group was girls in year 9 and 10 of lower secondary school. Approximately 7000 girls participated altogether. Each event lasts for 3 hours, and consists of various short talks from role models, talk show-style chats with a moderator, short video clips, demonstration of new technologies and competitions and workshops to increase the interaction between the audience and the role models. A success factor for the individual talks was the balance between personal experience and information about a given field of education or occupation. For each event we secured a variety of backgrounds – from various technology fields, and different levels of education to fulfil each individual subgoal as described below. In addition, career counselors and teachers were invited to the event and provided with posters and info material about STEM education pathways.


In 2019 Girls and Technology also hosted two live streams on YouTube. The format of the live streams was similar to the national tour events but limited to 45 minutes. Girls from year 9 and 10 in lower secondary school were invited to participate and the live streams had more than 3000 viewers. In addition, the Girls and Technology network of universities organized local Girls and Technology events on one shared day in February. The target group for these events were girls aged between 15-19. 8 universities participated in a total of 7 events, and a total of 1850 girls participated. There were also stands with various activities during the breaks (more information on the programme's reach below).


In 2020 the physical tour was replaced by a digital tour with 11 live streams, one for each county. The streams were modified to each county with local role models and representatives from regional industries. A total of 9 600 girls in grade 9 and 10 attended the live streams. 


In connection with the national tours in 2017-2019, NHO, The Norwegian Society of Engineers and Technologists (NITO) and NCR conducted a national competition for Technology students to win a study trip to NASA in Houston. The competition got significant attention at universities, in social media and in traditional media. The six winners got to experience a dream week of meeting astronauts, engineers, flight directors and many others working with space technology. The trip was communicated through daily updates on all social medias, and a film was produced after the trip (video 3). Most importantly, the winners were used as role models in the national Girls and Technology tour. Their presentations about the trip and space technology were tremendously popular among the girls in the audience. In 2020 the prize was a trip to Svalbard which also generated a lot of attention amongst students.


In adittion to the annual tour, social media and traditional media is used to reach girls year round and also to reach parents and career councelors.

Each year the reach of Girls and Technology has expanded. In 2020, 9600 girls in 9th and 10th grade (spread across all 11 counties in Norway), attended the digital tour. The project aims to reach more girls every year, with a focus on spreading and varying the tour locations from year to year. This is done to reach girls that live outside cities and be available in all of Norway.   Key figures for Girls and Technology 2019:   8850 participating girls between age 13-19 Participants from more than 250 different schools 25 events More than 80 role models 2 live streams with more than 3000 viewers   Key figures for Girls and Technology 2020:   9600 participating girls in 9th and 10th grade (tour only) A digital tour with 11 live streams 5 inspiration days at five different universities 1300 participating girls at the inspiration days Participation at 4 education fairs   In traditional media Girls and Technology have gained a lot of attention and been presented in more than 50 newspaper articles all over Norway as well as numerous commentaries. In addition, the project has had 5 national TV appearances.    
The main goal of the programme is to inform and inspire girls to see all the possibilities you have when choosing an education and career within STEM and strengthen their ability to take well-founded choices when it comes to their own education.   The impact of the program is measured through different parameters for the different events. Both the increase in girls choosing education within STEM in high schools and universities, the reach of the tour, social media campaigns and event evaluation are considered indicators of the project. However, measuring the effect of the Girls in Technology programme in isolation from other activities or strategies with similar goals is challenging. Nevertheless:   Girls and Technology started as a project in the Agder region, and the cooperation between the university and social partners such as NHO and NITO showed significant results. From 2005 to 2015 the number of women studying technology or engineering at the University of Agder increased by 227%, (from 128 to 412 female students). Research from "The Girls Day" at The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) shows that a recruitment event for Female Upper Secondary Students increased the motivation to work with School Mathematics and Science for 69% of the participating pupils. The role model methodology was emphasised as particularly influential towards improved motivation. Over 90% reported that "experiencing NTNU" increased their motivation to choose tertiary STEM education. This highlights the added value of partnering with universities when aiming to increase interest in STEM (see: Jensen & Vetleseter study in background documents). TNS KANTAR conducted a survey on behalf of NHO in October 2019, asking girls in the target group and their parents and career councellors about various aspects related to technology education. All three groups consistently agreed that there is a need for more information about technology education and work. Among lower secondary school students, increased information is the most important factor for whether they will consider choosing a STEM education or not. Among higher secondary students getting more female role models is the most important factor. Through the Girls and technology tour these two factors are emphasised to meet the needs for more information and role models.   Western Norway Research (Vestlandsforskning) is currently working on a comprehensive evaluation on the effect of the project.  This report is due in March 2021.
Budget and funding model:
The project is funded annually from the state budget and money is granted for one year at a time. The funding is partly related to the outcome and reach of the program, but also the need for gender balance (increasing the number of women), technically skilled workers and technology competence in general.   
June 1, 2015
Reports and studies | Thekla Morgenroth (University of Exeter)
This PhD thesis researches the effects of role models on motivation and goals of the target group. Abstract and complete research paper can be found via the link above.
January 1, 2015
Policy and strategy | Government of Norway
'Close to STEM' is the Norwegian national STEM strategy covering the period 2015-2019. It touches upon a wide range of topics ranging from the energy / green transition and climate to...
July 1, 2013
Reports and studies | International Journal of Gender, Science and...
This paper reports on how female students’ motivation for higher education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) was influenced by the recruitment event The Girls’ Day...
Girls and Technology - Example video: Synne (Norwegian...
Friday, 23 October 2020
Jenter og teknologi ('Girls and Technology')
This video is an example video created by the 'Girls and Technology'-programme. For a full overview of all available videos please visit the programme website or Youtube channel.