November 9, 2021

STEM through a Gender  Lens

“My body is not a merely a baby factory, I too have valid dreams, ambitions and passions to pursue sciences and make an impact in the world,” replied a recent University Graduate when asked about why she’s pursuing sciences instead of pursuing marriage. Girls are often bombarded with stereotypes about how sciences aren’t for them and how to become the perfect wife and leave the scientific work to the men, which is a myth, far from reality. 

If asked to name a female leader in science, would you have one at the top of your mind? One of the key factors perpetuating gender STEM gaps is the fact that girls have fewer role models to inspire their interest in these fields, seeing limited examples of female scientists and engineers in books, media and popular culture. Having female role models to inspire them and help them envision themselves in these roles increases the number of girls interested in STEM. 

Lucrative STEM fields like Engineering remain heavily male dominated. Intentionally providing women with equal opportunities to pursue and thrive in STEM careers can help narrow the gender pay gap, and enhance women’s economic security. In addition, this ensures a diverse and talented STEM workforce and prevents biases in these fields and the products and services they produce. 

The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) is a renowned pioneer in gender equality and continually champions more women in STEM.  

Our programs are specially designed to attract female scientists into the STEM pipeline to promote girl education. AIMS applies a hard quota (30 %) in recruiting top female talent to level the playing field for women. 

Did you know that STEM fields are often viewed as masculine, and teachers and parents often underestimate girls’ math abilities as early as preschool? To solve this, our Teacher Training Program  in Rwanda is training teachers to tackle counter-cultural attitudes and stereotypes that push girls out of mathematics and science. Through the introduction of smart classrooms, the program empowers teachers to support girls through technology.  

Our program supports women-led businesses and industry partners to improve their organizational culture through specialized gender training. AIMS students and staff benefit from regular gender, inclusion and diversity training, mentoring and access to strong women role models to encourage paradigm shifts. 

At AIMS, we partner with women in STEM organizations through a range of activities: profiling successful African women in STEM, including AIMS students and alumni, disseminating publications, promoting visibility at conferences and targeted outreach at secondary schools. We observe women-centered international celebrations such as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science and the International Women’s Day. 

In a recent virtual Generation Equality Forum, a global feminist gathering convening governments, international organizations, civil society, the private sector and young people seeking to drive gender equality forward, H.E the President Paul Kagame said that Guaranteeing equal rights and opportunities for women and girls is key in that every human being should be able to live the life that they choose regardless of their gender. Achieving gender equality in technology and innovation is just one part of the wider struggle to guarantee equal rights and opportunities for women and girls. 

AIMS in collaboration with top female leaders in their respective scientific fields and industry share their stories passions to encourage more ladies into the STEM field.  Our commitment to bridge the Gender Gap in the STEM field through all our programs remains intact. 

Watch the video below

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