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STEM education in general, and for girls in particular, is prominent in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. Empirical research shows that gender imbalances in attitudes towards STEM tend to be smaller in Sub-Sahara Africa, compared to the West; a trend confirmed in a 2021 Multistakeholder research project implemented in Kayonza, Rwanda, by KU Leuven, VVOB and RAWISE (Rwandese Association for Women in Science and Engineering). Data and stakeholder consultation however showed that this encouraging finding had to be qualified at the level of gendered self-confidence gaps, perceived male superiority and gender imbalance in transition to STEM higher education. Similar findings were found in a research from 2018 involving Dr Jolly Rubagiza, which specifically focused on mathematics performance. The important role of teachers in shaping gender differences through student-teacher interaction was also highlighted. As such, important challenges remain for changing gender norms in education which encourage male and female students alike to pursue STEM higher education and careers in Rwanda.



Welcome and introductions

Moderator: Marije van Breda coordinator

Gender attitudes and perceptions towards STEM subjects in Rwandan secondary schools

Dr Jolly Rubagiza
Dr Jolly Rubagiza
University of Rwanda

She holds a PhD in Education from the University of Bristol in the UK. She has a long career in academics and leadership positions in Rwanda. Currently, she is a Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Gender Studies, University of Rwanda (UR). Jolly has published scholarly articles and teaching materials on various topics including Gender and Education, Peace Building and Social Cohesion in Education, Gender and Local Governance, ICT in Education, HIV/AIDS, and others.




Understanding gender imbalances in STEM fields in Rwanda

Inge Vandevyvere
Inge Vandevyvere
Global Strategic Education Advisor
VVOB - education for development

As a Global Strategic Education Advisor, she advises on secondary education programmes at VVOB. She studied pedagogical sciences and joined VVOB in 2020 after several (international) experiences related to education and development. She was involved in the multistakeholder research project on gender and STEM in Rwanda.




Next steps & closing

Background documents

  • Journal ArticleGender attitudes and perceptions towards mathematics performance and enrolment in Rwandan secondary schools
  • Working paperUnderstanding gender imbalances in STEM fields in Rwanda

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