The 2017 International Day for Women and Girls in Science was held on the 11th of February to celebrate and inspire women and girls in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics STEM all around the world. The theme of this year’s day was “Gender, Science and Sustainable Development: The Impact of Media”.
The theme laid emphasis on the roles the media plays in empowering women and attaining gender equality.
In Ghana, a seminar was held for school girls to mark the event, under the guidance of Ghana Education Service (GES), the United States Embassy in Accra, the Association of Informatics Students (AIS-GTUC), the Engineering Students Association (ESA-GTUC) and the United Nations’ Students Association (UNSA-GTUC). The schools in attendance were Accra Girls Senior High School, Osu Presbyterian Senior High School and Saint Mary’s Senior School.
Mrs. Olivia Serwaa Opare of the Science Education Unit of the GES said that there was the need for science teachers to constantly engage the girl child to be involved in science practical work. “The boy child must be discouraged from teasing, intimidating and giving bad names to the girl child when she excels in class,” Mrs. Opare said.
The University of Toronto Canada also had sessions to mark the International Day for Women and Girls in Science. The panel was hosted by Canadian entrepreneur, Erica Ehm and webcast live. STEM leaders and experts present were The Honorable Kirsty Duncan, Canada’s Minister of Science, The Honorable Maryam Monsef, Canada’s Minister of Status of Women, Jennifer Flanagan, CEO of Actua, Amanda Mason of Oculus, Facebook’s virtual reality platform and Professor Angela Schoellig (UTIAS), an expert in autonomous flying robots from U of T.
The participants were pleased and inspired by what the speakers had to say. “This is an idea that I live by. I’ve always taken the road less travelled and being a minority has never stopped me from pursuing something,” “For me, being different is empowering an opportunity to be a leader, setting a precedent for others to follow.” said Nathalin Moy, a U of T Engineering student (Year 4 EngSci)
In a message for the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, said “science and gender equality are both vital for the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. “For too long, discriminatory stereotypes have prevented women and girls from having equal access to education in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).”