Zimbabwean women urged to participate in science industries

By Wallace Mawire

On International Day of Women and Girls in Science, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has called upon members of the public to join the rest of the world in celebrating the achievements of women and girls in science and advocating for the removal of obstacles that prevent women from participating in the science industries.

The International Day of Women and Girls in Science is commemorated every year on the 11th of February in order to highlight the contributions of women and girls in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and encourage the increased participation of women and girls in these fields.

The theme for International Day of Women and Girls in Science in 2022 is “Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: Water Unites Us.” The theme seeks to highlight the crucial role that can be played by women and girls in achieving Sustainable Development Goal 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation).

It is reported that the expertise of women in STEM industries can be leveraged in order to resolve the global water challenges that hinder economic development, social justice and environmental sustainability.

International Day of Women and Girls in Science is also an opportunity to reflect on the barriers that prevent women and girls from entering and fully participating in STEM fields, despite their immense contributions to scientific discoveries, medical breakthroughs, and technological innovations.

  Some of the barriers that prevent women and girls from entering STEM industries include gender discrimination and gender stereotyping. This discrimination and stereotyping perpetuates gender inequality and, ultimately, the quality of life of women and girls in society.   It is therefore said that  the elimination of discrimination in STEM industries is key to the attainment of gender equality and the improvement of the

socio-economic standing of women in society. In addition, the United Nations (UN) has recognised

science and gender equality to be crucial to the achievement of internationally-agreed development

goals, such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals. In particular, Goal 5 of the

Sustainable Development Goals is the attainment of gender equality and the empowerment of all women

and girls.

In Zimbabwe, the gender stereotyping and discrimination of women in STEM industries is exacerbated

by cultural norms which dictate the kinds of professions that women should pursue. In many communities,

a career in STEM industries is considered to be reserved for men. Some communities still shun the idea

of a woman pursuing a career at all, let alone a career in STEM fields. Therefore, addressing these

widespread beliefs and norms is vital to eradicating the discrimination that prevents women and girls in

Zimbabwe from pursuing careers in STEM industries.

The Zimbabwean government is urged to implement gender equality programmes and education reforms

that address the gender stereotypes and discrimination against women and girls who choose to pursue

careers in STEM industries.

On this International Day of Women and Girls in Science, ZLHR called upon members of the public to join the rest of the world in celebrating the achievements of women and

girls in science and advocating for the removal of obstacles that prevent women from

participating in the science industries,the Zimbabwean authorities to implement gender equality programmes and education reforms that address the stereotypes and discrimination against women and girls who choose to pursue careers in STEM industries.

 

 

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