Paving the way for Girls in STEM

Jan 25, 2023

childIn the last 20 years, women have been more likely to receive bachelor’s degrees than their counterparts but still, men have continued to dominate STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). 

According to a recent study from the United Nations conducted in 14 countries, “the probability for female students of graduating with a Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree, and Doctorate degree in science-related fields are 18%, 8%, and 2% respectively, while the percentages of male students are 37%, 18%, and 6%.”

This disparity is even more pronounced in third-world countries including Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania where women are discouraged from joining the science field for multiple reasons including, poverty, gender discrimination, lack of knowledge about the benefits of educating a girl, and cultural norms such as early marriages.

In 2015, the United Nations observed this educational inequality and dedicated the 11th of February as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, allowing us to honor the significant and life-changing innovations and discoveries made by women in STEM fields. This day also emphasizes the importance of girls joining STEM as it opens the door to diverse opportunities. We need more women in these areas to eradicate the gender imbalance that exists in STEM-related fields, fill the surplus of jobs, and drive new innovation.

In partnership with the United Nations, thousands of organizations and people around the world have made a commitment to educating girls in order to reduce the barriers to education.

We Know that the STEM Field Needs Women!

We have been working for more than a decade to provide resources to young girls so that they can achieve their dreams, strengthening the foundation of society and empowering future generations. 

We work hard to provide equal opportunity for women in these remote areas for many reasons including economic security, decrement in the gender pay gap, and giving rise to a diverse and talented workforce in society. 

Fostering gender equality gives birth to diversity and generates both new skill sets and innovative ideas in the world of STEM. As we focus on girls’ advancement and equip them through skill development, we see girls paving the way to innovation in STEM.  

stemRecently, two students in our Youth Livelihood Program exemplified this as they use STEM to redefine their future. Margaret and Roina from Wamba Girls Secondary School in Kenya developed and demonstrated an innovative device that not only purifies water but also desalinates it. Clean water is an enduring challenge in drought-stricken rural East Africa and innovations such as this sustainable, clean water invention could become an important part of the solution.

Margaret and Roina were given the opportunity to present their work at the Science Congress National Competition in Kenya for science innovations. Their innovation was so groundbreaking that they won the Young Scientist Award 2022! 

These girls are wonderful examples of what happens when girls are empowered to pioneer innovation in their communities; but, we recognize there is much more work to be done to ensure girls have equal opportunities in the world of STEM. As we continue to provide access, support, and hands-on tools for leadership and innovation, we know there will be more young women entering and succeeding in STEM fields, paving the way for even more young women behind them.

Written by: Ayesha Hameed Khattak

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