STEM project for Defense launched by Undersecretary Rauti: “Let’s remove stereotypes”

The senator told Adnkronos: “After high schools, for the next appointment we are thinking about military academies. Samantha Cristoforetti will not remain the only one, the important women in the Space Economy”

Also there Defence supports them Stem. subjects and, in Stem. week dedicated to technical-scientific disciplines, comes an innovative project promoted by Undersecretary Isabella Rauti which, in the first 2024 edition, was combined on the themes of Cybersecurity, Nanotechnologies, Renewable Energy and Space Meteorology. “We must remove stereotypes” and for this reason “as part of the first national week of dissemination of STEM subjects, established by law n.187 of 2023 – which provides for the holding of meetings and conferences aimed at young people, dedicated to scientific, technological disciplines , engineering and mathematics – I wanted to create an opportunity to raise awareness and discuss the topic” Undersecretary Isabella Rauti explains to Adnkronos, who is already looking to next year’s edition and anticipates that for the new appointment she plans to also involve “the Military Academies”.

The initiative, which will therefore have an annual character, for this year, recalls Rauti, “involved four Defense training excellences, the ‘Nunziatella’ Army Military Schools of Naples with the project ‘Cybersecurity: Phishing Emails’ and ‘ Teuliè’ of Milan with the project ‘Nanotechnologies and the challenge of rare earths’; the ‘Morosini’ Military Naval School of Venice, of the Navy, with the project ‘Offshore Wind energy: from sea to sky’ and the Douhet Air Force Military School of Florence of the Air Force with the project ‘Effects of Space Weather’. And the young students developed – with group work – four original projects linked to Stem applications in current or emerging fields and projected into the future”.

“For Defence, the event in Milan – underlines the Undersecretary – represented an opportunity for reflection between the training realities of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Carabinieri, an aspect which is part of the policy of Minister Guido Crosetto, on inter-force integration and promotes the development of common cognitive skills. And I would like to remind you in perspective that the field of Stem must be integrated by the dimension of humanistic education, this is what is meant by adding Art to Stem to create Steam, incorporating creative thinking and the arts applied across the spectrum of scientific disciplines”. And Minister Guido Crosetto sent his greeting message to the meeting in Milan, highlighting how “these branches of knowledge – which have a very strong impact on innovation, on economic growth, on the creation of new jobs – affect the security of Nation”.

In this first meeting, aimed at military high schools, Rauti highlights that “we wanted to create a significant connection between STEM and gender equality through the figures of the tutors, five female officers with scientific degrees who work in technological sectors, positive models who have constituted a virtuous example for the students and the general public, which also included numerous secondary school students in Milan”. “For the next annual event we are thinking of involving the military academies” she reiterates. But Rauti with her project also aims to reduce the gender gap that afflicts scientific subjects. “The choice to have female officers as tutors – she observes – was functional in countering the idea that the study of STEM disciplines is more suitable for men than women, a stereotype that is still very widespread in our country”.

The Senator of FdI believes that “this comparison of opinions is a source of enrichment and a necessary ‘tool’ in the production of appropriate solutions, a creative increase in innovation capabilities and therefore a greater and better possibility of pursuing the organisation’s objectives. activities in units that see the presence of both gender components, in fact, integrate skills that complement and strengthen each other”. “On the other hand, the dimension of gender specificity, uniqueness or exclusivity makes the female presence a strategic resource even in the contexts of international missions. Here, women in uniform offer a particular professional contribution and can even prove to be multipliers of the safety factor and compatibility with the territory and with the civilian population, in particular with the local female element” he underlines.

“An example very close to me – he also states – is that of specialist military units, made up of women trained in contact and analysis of the security needs of the local female population: the Female Engagement Team (FET), structures trained with specific courses at the Cimic regiment of the Motta di Livenza Army, where I worked first as a student and then as a teacher as an officer of the Army’s selected reserve”. In short, the four macro-areas addressed in the projects of military high school students – Nanotechnologies, Cybersecurity, Space Meteorology and Renewable Energy – and the STEM issues can innovate Defense. “The areas of application of STEM disciplines in Defense are innumerable, in the traditional domains – Earth, Sea and Sky – as well as in the new ones, represented by cyberspace and space” explains Rauti adding that “today the threats to security are hybrid, they occur in multiple domains and require integrated and multidimensional responses, with extensive use of modern and advanced, technologically sophisticated tools”.

Rauti cites among the examples that “two new regiments of the Army have now been established, an Armed Force which is creating new cutting-edge operational capabilities: the 3rd ‘Bondone’ Regiment, which is developing the potential linked to the use of drones, and the 9th ‘Rombo’ Cyber ​​Security Regiment, which excels in the field of Cyberspace and is on the front line for national security” but there is also “the security of national submarine infrastructures, a topic of strategic importance to which our Navy The military pays very high attention” because “despite the belief that the Internet travels mainly via satellite, as much as 98% of the data passes through backbones and connections located under the surface of the sea”.

But STEM subjects suffer from a serious gender problem and for Undersecretary Rauti it is “necessary to remove stereotypes and conditioning to reduce the gender gap of graduates in these subjects, and invest in STEM training which facilitates access to the job market , in strong and well-paid work sectors and this can also contribute to reducing the gender pay gap”. “The first national Stem week – explains Rauti – wanted to impact on the gender gap through a process of raising awareness on these subjects, aimed at all young people, of all ages, engaged in an educational and study path, especially girls. This approach, both in the military field and in civil society, constitutes an important basis for the reduction of this gap and a progressive development of gender equality”.

But the gender gap is also felt in space activities, to date Italy has only one active female astronaut, Samantha Cristoforetti: will the Defense appoint other female astronauts? “Astrosamantha is part of the group of 72 women who have flown in space to date, a number that has grown from the 90s onwards, according to the latest data published by NASA” and for Italy “it is possible that her experience will be repeated, in a sector that is experiencing exponential development, which increasingly sees space at the center of scientific, economic and military interests” replies Rauti. “Generally speaking – finally observes the Undersecretary of Defense – it is believed that women will have an increasingly important role in the space exploration of the future and in the development of the new space economy”.