Over the years, women have always been at the receiving end of all kinds of chauvinism; religious, cultural, educational, professional, even in the workplace. Yes, the advent of civilisation has improved the status of the female folk, but the bias has not been completely wiped out.

So, growing up, we read about great inventors like; Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, Thomas Edison etc. Nobody talked about the achievement of other inventors like Shirley Jackson, Maria Telkes, Ann Tsukamoto; even Maria Currie was mentioned in physics classes as an afterthought because they were women.

The culture of playing down on the achievements of female scientists has the overarching consequence of discouraging school girls from engaging in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), and by extension, STEM careers. According to the UNESCO report Cracking the Code: just 35% of STEM students in higher education are female, and there are gender disparities within STEM disciplines.

Women make up only 28 per cent of the STEM workforce, and men outnumber women in most STEM disciplines in college. Gender gaps are especially prominent in some of the fastest-growing and highest-paying jobs of the future, such as computer science and engineering.

For example, take the healthcare sector; women make up over 80% of the healthcare workforce. Still, only approximately one-third of doctors and about 21% of healthcare executives and board members are female. Women are more prevalent in lower-paying fields such as home health care, nursing, and lower-paying speciality such as paediatrics.

She launched the project under Gender Equality And Women’s Empowerment/Women & Girls in STEM program. This program conveys the lucrative prospects and fulfilling career prospects of a STEM career and most importantly encourage more young girls to pursue a career in STEM.

The project was carried out at Deeper Life Entrepreneurship School (DLHS)Mowokekere, Elepe, Ikorodu. The details of the project is as follows:

  • A group discussion on why girls were not interested in pursuing a career in STEM       
  • An interactive question and answer session to debunk myths and tests students’ understanding 
  • A talk show showing successful women in STEM using short stories of role models to convey the lucrative prospects and fulfilling career prospects of a career in STEM and most importantly encourage more young girls to pursue a career in STEM

In the course of the project, a minimum of 15 participants were sensitized about the lucrative prospects and fulfilling career prospects of a career in STEM. 10 percent of the participants scored above average on the Girls in STEM test and now know how to become a part of and to expand the Women in STEM’s contributions to national and continental developments across the globe. 50% of participants pledged to advocate for female participation in STEM careers within their community and commit to pursuing a career in STEM.

Marvelous Adelaja is a regular teenager who wants to effect change in her community in any little way she can. What are you doing about the change you want to see

in your community?

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