The All-Africa Students Union has joined calls by global governing body United Nations and others like UNESCO to celebrate women and girls in Science and to demand more towards boosting interest and career choices of women in Science.
The continental student body in a statement issued on 11th February 2021 to observe the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, charged stakeholders to commit fully to addressing gender stereotypes against women in STEM circles.
Across the world, “women account for less than 30% of researchers in Science”: the statement said. It further added that: “UNESCO estimates that even in schools, just about 3% of all students enrolling for ICT programmes are girls, with only 5% enrolling in Natural Science, Mathematics and Statistics”.
This abysmal representation if continued will drastically reduce the number of women and girls working in the fields of technology. This fear, unfortunately, is manifesting as report again suggests that, girls have a meagre representation in STEM professions across the world.
The Secretary-General of the Union, Mr. Peter Kwasi Kodjie further reiterated that the day is intended to; highlight problems of gender stereotypes and the implications on Women and Girls as regards interests, participation, career choices among others, and also, debunk assertions that boys and men are inherently better at STEM than women.
Below is the full statement.
On the occasion of this year’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science, the All-Africa Students Union (AASU) joins the world to celebrate and to make further commitments towards the cause of Women and Girls.
Gender stereotypes have continually stifled the growth and development of Women and Girls in Science and related disciplines. It is critical that to fully harness the invaluable capacity and intellectual resource of women towards addressing global problems, we need to ensure that Science and its related fields are as attractive and receptive to women and girls as they are to men and boys. This would ensure the attainment of internationally set development goals which would, in turn, make the world better for all.
International Day of Women and Girls in Science is intended to highlight the problem of gender stereotypes and the implications on Women and Girls as regards interests, participation, career choices among others. The goal is to also to change the stereotypical assertions that boys and men are inherently better at SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING and MATHEMATICS (STEM) than women and girls and resound the ability of women and girls to equally excel in STEM fields.
According to the United Nations, women account for less than 30% of researchers in Science. UNESCO estimates that even in schools, just about 3% of all students enrolling for ICT programmes are girls, with only 5% enrolling in Natural Science, Mathematics and Statistics. It is therefore not surprising that girls have a meagre representation in STEM professions across the world.
STEM focuses on converging Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and teaching them through real-world applications. The STEM curriculum exposes individuals to opportunities where they can apply theory to address real-life problems under favourable learning conditions. The four subjects are particularly important for the girl child since these subjects form a vital part of our everyday lives and require that females are empowered in these areas to better position them to overcome their daily challenges.
As we mark this day, we urge all stakeholders to applaud women and girls in science for the steady progress being made and also to help women and girls to better understand and enjoy their everyday science in order to increase female participation in STEM circles and professions.
To this end, we urge governments to set up incubation facilities for special skills acquisition training, organize case-sharing seminars, and provide funding for young women in STEM. This will catapult women as role models in STEM for future generations and empower them to be at par with their male counterparts.
The All-Africa Students Union remains committed to cooperating with African Governments in this regard.
Peter Kwasi KODJIE
All-Africa Students Union (AASU)