This past week, I was attending a weeklong course run by the “iWish” organisation. The course was promoting STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths) as a career path for girls, the event itself is an all-girls initiative and is the brain-child of three inspiring and powerful women.
At the start of the week; we were told about two competitions that were going to be run. The first was a social media campaign that was giving away two iPad’s at the end of the week. The other competition was less materialistic and more prestigious. It was a chance to be a part of the iWish national event being held in the City Hall Feb 9th and 10th. To be in with a chance of partaking in this event we were asked to write an account/ reflection/ blog that was between 100- 200 words summing up girls in STEM. Now girls in STEM is a big issue to tackle and was the purpose of the week in the college but the issue is not so much the girls who are in STEM careers but more the lack of.
I decided to submit a piece. Here is what I wrote:
Girls in STEM: A Life No Less Ordinary
We live in a world where opportunities are endless but expectations are limited. We are brought up being told we can do anything but when it comes to our career paths “anything” falls into a category.
Today in our education systems we, as women are being subconsciously pushed into career choices that are lower paying and self-limiting.
We’re told Home Ec and Art are “nice” choices for a girl. Now while there is nothing wrong with these subjects, Maths takes a backseat and no longer becomes a necessity for girls, in our schools.
We live in a generation who see a scientist as a crazy old man, An Engineer as an intuitive quick thinking male. A generation that perceives computer scientists as high-class gamer boys and mathematicians, middle-aged, numerically oriented men with few social skills.
The iWish program is challenging these perceptions. We are shown just how many career opportunities are out there, just waiting for us.
This week has opened my eyes towards science, shown me a new side of maths, explained the benefits of physics and earned my appreciation for all things Engineering!
The time to challenge and change is now. Let’s change the ratio of girls in STEM and together we can challenge people’s views.
I sent this off and thought nothing else of it until on the last day I was called up amongst the founders of the iWish program to be congratulated on my achievement. But what had I achieved, I wrote an account that much was obvious but I was still unsure what my role at this event was going to be, I’m just a girl, no one cares. I got an email then opened. It told me that I would be a panelist on the campaign’s main event, that I would be joining senior representatives from IBEC, Dell, EMC, Biopharmichen, Intel… all people with massive achievements and success stories emanating from choosing a career in STEM. All this was great and I would sit up there with them when 10:05am on the 9th of February rolled along, but what would I say, I’m just a girl who would care? Well, on pondering this question for a long time since I think I’ve found an answer. The reason my story could be included
Well, on pondering this question for a long time since I think I’ve found an answer. The reason my story could be included with the stories of all these remarkable women is because, maybe at one stage I was them. A girl staring down the barrel of life and wondering which path to take, I, like everyone in the audience am a school girl wondering what I want.
Do I even want a career in STEM?