Since the early 1980s, VHTO, the Dutch national expert organization on girls/women and science/technology, has been building up knowledge about the participation of girls and women in the world of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), and experience in deploying this knowledge in areas such as education. Although research has made clear that girls are no less talented than boys in STEM, girls and women are still underrepresented in STEM fields in higher education and on the labour market. This is a loss for girls/women as well as society. Girls/women have equal rights as boys/men to develop their STEM talents, and society would benefit from fully exploiting all available talent. Increasing opportunities for women in these fields is an important step towards realizing greater economic success and equality for women across the board.
Therefore, VHTO aims to increase the participation of women and girls in STEM. With our projects and methodology, VHTO contributes to breaking (implicit) stereotypes concerning gender & STEM, and to increasing the growth mindset and self-confidence of girls and young women regarding STEM subjects. VHTO uses research-based interventions that have proven successful in previous years, and developed them into a strong combination of activities for girls and women throughout the entire chain of education (from primary to higher and vocational education), training programmes for teachers and career advisers, and consultations with school/education managers. At present, VHTO the leading expert organization on gender & STEM in the Netherlands.