Ethiopia: Unlocking Girls' Potential Through Stem

Nowadays, the number of girls attending schools is increasing remarkably from year to year. However, there are still wider gaps in terms of benefitting from an education of their choice and completing their education.

As studies indicate, too many girls and women are held back by biases, social norms and expectations influencing the quality of the education they receive and the subjects they study. They are particularly under-represented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, and consequently in STEM careers.

According to the UNESCO's report entitled 'Cracking the code: Girls' and women's education in STEM', only 35 percent of STEM students in higher education globally are women, and differences are observed within STEM disciplines.

For example, only 3 percent of female students in higher education choose information and communication technologies (ICT) studies. This gender disparity is alarming, especially as STEM careers are often referred to as the jobs of the future, driving innovation, social wellbeing, inclusive growth and sustainable development.

As to the report, women make up only 28 percent of the workforce in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and men vastly outnumber women majoring in most STEM fields in college. The gender gaps are particularly high in some of the fastest-growing and highest-paid jobs of the future, like computer science and engineering.

Giving women equal opportunities to pursue -- and thrive in -- STEM careers helps narrow the gender pay gap, enhances women's economic security and ensures a diverse and talented STEM workforce and prevents biases in these fields and the products and services they produce.

Thus, countries are working to increase the number of girls in STEM education, enhance their capability and make them leaders in the area.

With this same purpose, recently, a workshop of that focuses on the role of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics was organized by Institute of Technology and Innovation.

Speaking on the occasion, Teshome Sahlemariam, Deputy Director General of the Institute said that few decades ago it was very challenging for women to attend schools let alone to participate in areas such as science, technology, engineering or mathematics. However, these days things are changed for the better and a number of female scientists are coming forward and are trying to make a difference.

Science and technology can make a big difference in both peace and non-peace environments. Thus, women who constitute half of the population should work hard in the sector.

Professor Yalemtsehay Mekonnen, Cell and Human Physiologist at Addis Ababa University and Gender Head at the College of Natural Sciences, on her part said that human beings have been exploring, observing and experimenting their surrounding for thousands of years so as to make their life more agreeable with the environment. Women, have had significant contributions in this regard.

Professor Yalemtsehay also elaborated the contribution of successful, pioneer and celebrated Ethiopian women at local and international level.

She also underscored the importance of educating and encouraging girls in science, technology, engineering and math at early age from the lowest level of education.

Students drawn from seven different schools, researchers and scholars from the Institute attended the workshop.

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