The Sunday News
Rumbidzai Mhlanga, Sunday Life Reporter
THE Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (Stem) Trust in partnership with iRock last week celebrated the United Nations International Day for Women and Girls In Science in Bulawayo.
The celebrations ran under the theme, “Investment in Women and Girls for Inclusive Green Growth”. The girls in Stem Trust founder and executive director, Victoria Ngono, said guided by their theme the trust this year focuses on green growth strategies.
“The focus on green growth strategies is essential to ensuring that natural assets can deliver their full economic potential on a sustainable basis. That potential includes the provision of critical life support services — clean air, clean water, and the resilient biodiversity needed to support food production and human health. We are paving the way for a vibrant generation of women leaders and entrepreneurs in Stem now and in future generations to come. The cornerstone of The Girls in Stem Trust is to that end, we are on a mission, an unstoppable one, that is to get one million girls, in all facets of Stem by 2030,’’ Ngono said.
The director said they appreciate the support they get from people around them.
“I want to acknowledge the invaluable contribution of the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Provincial Education Director’s Office in supporting initiatives that empower girls to take up Stem and to all our corporate partners and stakeholders for holding our vision and mission so dear to their hearts,’’ she said.
The city junior mayoress, Thuba Nkiwane, said she was glad that girls in Stem have managed to break stereotypes people have about women.
“I am glad that the girls in Stem are taking a stand and are breaking stereotypes and conventions that come with the strong conviction that because of her genotype she is already disadvantaged. But today we ‘are taking a very different stance’. In a society that prescribed that girls and women were not cut out or fit for the science fields, Girls in Stem trust are now acknowledged as being a part of the Stem fields. “We applaud the initiatives that have been taken by Government to promote the uptake of science Stem subjects and this seems to be paying off. A massive and game changing movement like this one has been accompanied by the constant emphasis on gender equality, that as the Government and Stem programme continues to promote science and technology, women and girls are called upon to break the stereotype and come on board,’’ she said.
The Girls In Stem Trust administrator, Natalie Knife, said they have come up with job shadowing programmes as way of familiarising the girls with the jobs they wish to do.
“The purpose of this job shadowing programme is to expose the girls to the real world because they have a tendency of just having fantasies and they have no idea of how different it is to actually be on the ground and do the work hence the programme helps them to learn how to interact with others in the working environment and how to behave around co-workers, it also motivates them to pursue their careers in Stem.
“There is also Africa Code week initiative that is now happening in 37 African countries including Zimbabwe. For this initiative, we go around schools training students how to code, and last year we managed to train about 1 276 students and 834 of these were girls. Thus as of late girls are taking more interest in stem programmes than boys,” she said.