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MentoraSTEAM Multiplier Event 2

The closing event of Mentora STEAM, a three-year project (2020-2023) supported by Erasmus+ that aims to highlight the inequalities and challenges faced by highly skilled migrant women in the labor market, was held in Milan on May 15, 2023. The goal of the Europe-wide project is to improve the employability of highly skilled and second-generation migrant women in the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) fields.
MEET hosted three rounds of training over the course of a year, which supported the participating women in building their resumes and helped boost their confidence and self-esteem. Participation created a network among women from different geographic backgrounds but sharing similar needs.
During the event, topics such as confidence and self-esteem building, personal branding, and networking techniques were covered.

There were also requested sessions in English, as a common language for those who do not know Italian.
Adapting women’s skills to the work culture in the host country and the benefits of self-employment were also discussed.
Professor Mara Graziella Tognetti, a migration expert with a focus on women, family and health, was the guest speaker and panelist during the event. Her talk generated a lively discussion among the women project participants, workshops and facilitators of the training sessions. Several difficulties emerged, such as the lack of recognition of academic degrees obtained abroad, the challenges of integration in a society that portrays them negatively, identity conflicts between the culture of origin and the Italian culture, the sense of foreignness, and the difficulties in reconciling work and family commitments.
It was found that negative media narratives do not reflect reality, as employment opportunities for these women are hindered by various issues, such as lack of support for childcare or catching up in school. These difficulties do not only affect a specific context or woman, but are also common in the case of internal migration.
Despite some progress, many employers are still reluctant to recognize academic degrees obtained outside Europe as equivalent to domestic ones.
On the social side, a WhatsApp group and a Facebook group have been created where women can interact with each other and keep in touch with MEET, for example, to report possible job opportunities. MEET’s participation in Mentora STEAM aims to bridge this disparity in and around the Milan area by offering support and tools to migrant women to facilitate their entry into the world of work.