File photo: President Paula-Mae Weekes inspects the Guard of Honour in front of the Chamber entrance at the Red House.
PRESIDENT Paula-Mae Weekes is recognising the Trinidadian women who have made waves in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
She made the comment on the occasion of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science celebrated on Thursday.
Weekes said this day advocated for greater participation of women and girls in the fields STEM and celebrated those trailblazing women who have made indelible contributions to scientific development.
She said Trinidad and Tobago has produced many female pioneers who have made and continue to make waves in the world of STEM:
- Camille Wardrop Alleyne, who is the first person of Caribbean descent—male or female—to hold a senior management position at NASA;
- Dr Shirin Haque, the first woman to head the Department of Physics at UWI St Augustine;
- Dr Judith Gobin, the first female Professor of Science at UWI St Augustine; and
- Dolly Nicholas the first and only woman to receive a national award for a scientific invention.
The president said girls in T&T’s tertiary institutions tend to outnumber and outperform the boys in every area of STEM, except engineering, in stark contrast to UN statistics which indicate that although women make up about 50% of the world’s population, they comprise less than 30% of scientific and technological researchers and are regularly excluded from science-related fields as a result of long-standing biases and harmful gender stereotypes.
She said, “The Covid-19 pandemic has underscored the important role of scientific and technological innovation in mitigating crises and providing viable solutions to pressing and complex challenges.
“Traditional ways of learning, working and doing business have been substituted or totally replaced by the use of technology as the need to keep safe is balanced with the need to keep nations and economies afloat.”
Weekes encouraged girls and women to pursue careers in STEM because the nation and the world, could benefit from the addition of the female perspective.