Mpower Financing launches new scholarship program for girls in STEM stream

STEM – On February 11, 2019, MPower Financing rolled out its brand-new Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Scholarship Program, honouring the United Nation’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science, as per India Today report. Apparently, the new scholarship program will focus on women who will use the STEM degree in order to benefit society as well as the plant and who have the potential to serve as role models and advocates for women in STEM, it said.

The scholarship programme is part of a broader social impact strategy supported by a grant from Gray Matters Capital, a social impact investment firm with a strong Indian presence. Further information about the Women in STEM Scholarship Program and other MPOWER-sponsored scholarships, and details about how to apply will be available on February 12, 2019, at the company website, noted the report.

Gender Gap

For MPower’s CEO Manu Smadja these statistics represent a societal challenge to address, says the report. “By financially enabling women to pursue their educational dreams in STEM, we are helping address gender equity in the workforce. But we’d like to do much more-and starting this new scholarship programme is yet another way to level the playing field. Indeed, our initial research has shown that women in emerging markets often have less access than their male counterparts to the financial support needed to pursue higher education in North America,” Smadja is quoted as saying by the report.

Crucial for India

As a certified B Corporation (social enterprise) and the leading American provider of education loans to global students, MPOWER has long been focused on increasing access to higher education for women from emerging markets, as 45% of MPOWER’s global customer base is female, said the report.

Largest Market

Rightly so, India is MPower’s largest market, accounting for over 20% of its customer base, but only 36% of its Indian customers are female, the second-lowest in the world after sub-Saharan Africa, the report pointed out.

The social impact advisory board of the company expect that Indian women will do especially well in this competition. While only 39% of MPower’s female patrons worldwide are pursuing STEM degrees, 70% of its female customers from India are pursuing STEM degrees.

STEM Powerhouse

“India is a STEM powerhouse.  As a technology firm that’s one of the main reasons why our second-largest office is in Bangalore and why we’re committed to increasing our staff there by 400% this year. We’re looking for talented women and men who can help us shape the future of financial technology,” Smadja tells the magazine.

Erika Norwood, CEO of Gray Matters Capital says, “Scholarships like this aren’t just a nice luxury. Future careers will depend on them until we can shift the status quo. And shifting the status quo is critical – our experience in impact investing has been that there is a key link between increasing the number of women participating in any given community or field and outcomes in terms of innovation and knowledge.”

Rohan Tibrawalla, Country Director, India at MPower Financing said, “This is a very proud moment for us where we do our part in truly empowering women through this scholarship opportunity. We aim to encourage women to step-up and enlighten the world about their work as well as aspire to achieve greater breakthroughs in their chosen field of expertise through the STEM Scholarship.”

Other Scholarship Programs

The Women in STEM Scholarship Program complements the company’s existing Global Citizen Scholarship Programme, which awards four $5,000 scholarships annually to international students enrolled at the top US or Canadian colleges and universities. One of last year’s winners was Rohit Gupta, an Indian student who is using his award to pursue a Master’s of Data Science at the University of Washington. “I chose to study in the United States,” he says, “because I believe that technology is a vital frontier of human civilization, and the ecosystem here attracts the best from around the world.”

Image source: Mpower Website

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