International Day of Women and Girls in Science is celebrated by the United Nations and its partners worldwide. The Day focuses on the reality that science and gender equality are vital for achieving internationally agreed development goals, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. However, long-standing biases and gender stereotypes steer girls and women away from science-related fields.
Therefore, to achieve full and equal access to STEM education and participation in science for women and girls and further achieve gender equality and empowerment, the UN General Assembly declared 11th February as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. The year, the theme for the event is: “Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: Water Unites Us.”
In this regard, the Institute of ICT Professionals Ghana (IIPGH) Bono Chapter, in collaboration with the Optical Society of UENR (OSU) and some lecturers at the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR), celebrated the Day with the girls of MA Basic School at Mmredane, Sunyani.
Speaking at the event, the chairman, Dr Owusu Nyarko-Boateng, advised the junior high school girls to be serious with their science and mathematics subjects.
He further stressed that the demand for female professionals in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics is growing exponentially. Moreover, tackling some of the most significant challenges in Ghana and the world, such as improving health, combating climate change, cybercrime, and technological gaps, relies on harnessing especially talent in girls. "That means getting more girls to study STEM subjects is critical. The increased number of girls in STEM education will expand the pool of talents in technological innovation, fresh perspectives, and creativity. The chairman reminded the girls to play a critical role in science and technology communities and that their participation in all STEM events should be strengthened," he stated.
Several invited speakers took their turn to talk to the student on different topics. Ms Vivian Akoto- Adjepong, a PhD Computer Science candidate and a lecturer at UENR, said, among others, that one needs to have a vision and understanding of what they want to achieve and then make appropriate preparation to progress through the educational system amidst challenges effectively.
Ms Faiza Umar Bawah, a PhD Computer Science candidate and a lecturer at UENR, also said there are two keys to winning: Enthusiasm and Mental Edge. Her presentation focused on elaborating seven mental training techniques which are judgement, goal setting, visualization, positive self-talk, error management, concentration development and preparation.
Dr. Samuel Boateng and Dr Kofi Nti, both lecturers at UENR, took their turn to advise the girls to develop the right attitudes and discipline towards their academic work and life in general. He said attitude and discipline are the twin attributes that would help them study and achieve their life goals in STEM education. The speakers said artificial intelligence is driving industrialization and digitalization of businesses, "so girls are expected to champion the practical design and implementation of this technology in Ghana."
Miss Rosemond Amonoo, a representative from the Sunyani Municipal Education, asked the girls to be useful at home and take their studies seriously to avoid teenage pregnancy, leading to school dropouts.
The chairman climax the event with a word of caution to all the girls to stay focused and avoid truancy and unnecessary use of electronic devices at the early stages in their educational career.