Minister for Communications and Digitalisation, Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful has given out strategic guidelines that can be implemented to improve the participation of young ladies and working women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
The Minister’s steps she indicated was out of a recent survey commissioned by Microsoft, adding that, increasing women's participation in STEM careers has the power to close the gender pay gap and boost women's cumulative earnings by high amount, to expedite global economic development.
“Provide role models. Girls and young women have a hard time picturing themselves in STEM roles. Seeing women who work in STEM and technology helps remind girls they have a place in these fields if they want it. Generate excitement. Girls want to be creative and have a positive impact on the world.
“Provide hands-on experience. Girls who participate in STEM clubs and activities outside of school are more likely to say they will pursue STEM subjects later in their education. We can bring the experiential learning that girls want into more classrooms. Provide encouragement. Girls who feel supported by teachers and parents show more interest in continuing with STEM in their future. Encourage a “growth mindset”. Girls are willing to work hard to succeed” she detailed at the launch of the seats for ladies in STEM initiative (S4LIS) on Wednesday December 14, 2022 at the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Center of Excellence in ICT.
She added that, gender inequality had put females at a disadvantaged position, curtailing their development and growth.
That, she said, was evident in the gender gap in many industries, including the telecommunication sector, adding that the nation is gradually making progress in female education in STEM-related fields.
According to her, women were underrepresented in STEM education and careers due to entrenched cultural and traditional norms and the perception that STEM was a male domain because “boys and men are just better at it than girls”.
“Gender inequality is one of the problems that have gained much attention at the global stage and at many international stages. It has taken centre stage in policies of many Governments especially in Africa. Any development agenda being championed by Governments cannot gloss over the need to implement interventions to address the inequality in the education and specific job environments. While it has positioned the female gender in disadvantaged situations and thereby curtailed their growth and development, it has also compromised the optimal utilization of human capital in various countries.”
“There is a lot of pressure being put on women but such similar pressure is not being put on men to choose between a career, relationship and marriage,” she added.
The programme was launched by the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications (GCT), in collaboration with the Ministry of Communication and Digitalisation, under the theme: “Bridging the gender gap in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in Ghana”.