The significance of gender balance in the Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) fields has continually been emphasised over decades. Women and girls are still underrepresented in the science fields, despite the continuous emphasis. It’s important to note that all teams in scientific, technological, engineering, and mathematics work better and members are happier when both genders are equally represented.
It is important for society to encourage balanced representation in all fields. But how do we achieve equity, diversity and inclusion in STEM if differences start when we are born? Have you ever wondered why it appears a norm that a baby girl receives a baby doll gift while a boy receives a rocket or car toy gift? Does it mean young girls can not play with rocket, car and robot toys? The society brainwashes the mind of the girl child from the time she is born and makes her grow knowing that they are born to care and feel for others while boys are made to believe they should transform the world in all technical means.
In order to have as many women as men working in science related fields a lot has to change from when a girl child is born. It will start with simple things like the toys they receive and the roles the female characters in the cartoons they watch play. Let the young ones choose their toys based on their interests and let there be no gender based biases in roles of cartoon character allocation. Growing and succeeding in a society that believes only boys and men can succeed in STEM related fields is not easy for a girl child who has interest in STEM. Women in this field should strongly show the young girls it is possible and they can do it.
This year’s theme of International day of women and girls in science focuses on the SDG 6 which is on clean water and sanitation. This goal can be achieved in unit and equal participation of all genders. Girl child and women have an equal responsibility to act and voice their ideas on science techniques that can be used to achieve SDG 6. In celebration of this year’s international day of women and girls in science I challenge all women in the academy to inspire a girl to pursue a field in STEM and let us all unite as a family into working towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6.