As a Young Female Scientist - an engineer, I find myself looking back to my time as an undergraduate. I was one of the seven ladies in a class of 129 student! The gender imbalance was huge. I still wonder with some degree of sadness about when, if ever, this imbalance will be addressed. Recently I had an “aha moment” Perhaps the answer is “Total Inclusiveness”.
By “Total Inclusiveness” I mean truly getting the women and girls involved at every level - ranging from decision making, social participation, education, political activities and governance. This can only be a reality if most of the societal and cultural barriers against women and girls are removed.
Over the years, women have played enormous part in science, however little recognition has been given to them. Data has repeatedly shown that women in sciences progress more slowly and are less likely to be hired not because of merit but due to gender bias.
They forget that lots of women have proven to be great and incredible achievers in science, technology, engineering and Maths (STEM) – The likes of Marie Curie - the great physicist and scientist; Grace Hopper - the inventor of the first programming computer; Mae Carol Jemison - the great NASA astronaut/engineer and physician, and Roberta Bondar - the great astronaut and neurologist; to name but a few.
Recently the world marked the year of female scientists. This year’s theme by the United Nations is “Investment in women and girls in science for inclusive green growth” Green Growth in the sense that, natural assets should be put into consideration in the course of fostering economic growth and development. On this note, a global call for total inclusiveness of women and girls in science should be adopted. Women and girls are probably more concerned about the environment around them and the urgent need of ensuring its protection for the good of our future generation.
Join us in celebrating women and girls who are leading inventors and innovators with a call for actions to remove all barriers that hold women and girls back, ranging from social, cultural and gender norms.
This is the time for total inclusiveness of women in all spheres of living and working! The time has come for our voices to be heard! Together we can bring more girls and women into Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) fields and make our world more innovative, equal and greener.