Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Hon. Daryl Vaz, says Government will continue to provide the necessary support to help girls and young women harness their skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
“It is imperative that women and girls, for generations to come, know and take their place in science without any reservation. This Ministry is committed to providing the support necessary to make this happen,” he said.
Minister Vaz was speaking at the fifth staging of the Scientific Research Council’s (SRC) Conversations in Science Series, held virtually on Friday (February 11) in recognition of International Day of Women and Girls in Science.
The event, held under the theme: ‘The Legacy of Women in STEM: Fueling NEXGenGirls,’ was aimed at increasing the attractiveness of science, technology and innovation to women and girls.
Minister Vaz called on industry leaders and parents to do more to expose women and girls to opportunities in STEM.
Citing statistics from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Minister Vaz said that women are consistently under-represented in STEM fields, with less than 30 per cent of the world’s researchers being women.
He noted that addressing the under-representation and retention of women in these career paths is not merely for statistical gain, but for the betterment of the world.
“The time has come for us to change this reality and build a robust legacy of women in STEM to fuel the next generation of girls,” Mr. Vaz said.
“With the challenges of climate change, food security, poverty and diseases such as COVID-19, ensuring that women and girls have equal access to opportunities in STEM is critical to ensuring a brighter future,” he added.
For her part, Minister of Education and Youth, Hon. Fayval Williams, said that the achievement of women in STEM fields should be amplified to inspire more girls to bridge the gender gap and shatter stereotypes.
“You should never give in to the narrative that being a woman somehow limits you from pursuing a career in science and technology,” Minister Williams said.
“Now, more than ever, in this period of adjusting to a new normal, our girls should be encouraged to move into areas previously dominated by men,” she added.
She said that the Ministry continues its focus on STEM education to create greater opportunities for students to realise the endless possibilities that exist in the field.
The event also featured contributions from Executive Director of the National Commission on Science and Technology (NCST), Dr. Olive-Jean Burrowes and Principal of the Western STEM Academy, Phelisa Ricketts-Graham.