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Young girls pave the way for education revolution and female leadership in STEM

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As young women face systematic barriers when it comes to undertaking STEM subjects and STEM-related careers, these young girls have taken it upon themselves to challenge stereotypes and change lives with their skills by revolutionizing education, creating spaces for women to be heard, and becoming leaders of change.

Girls and women are systematically tracked away from STEM subjects throughout their education, limiting their access, preparation, and opportunities to go into these fields as adults because of the stereotypes and barriers around them.

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

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These young girls are shattering stereotypes and paving the way for women in STEM

Young women who participated in the 30th Pan-African Mathematics Olympiad, PAMO, have had a chance to gather in women in STEM events with a focus on breaking gender stereotypes and barriers.

These young girls have had a chance to discuss with women such as Eva Liliane Ujeneza and Marie Chantal Cyurinyana who are making a name for themselves in the STEM field.

They held a space to discuss challenges, stereotypes, and barriers that women face and how to overcome them early in their careers. They offered insights on how to build fulfilling careers using skills and passion to survive and solve problems making an impact.

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‘I decided to pursue civil engineering because it was what other bright students were doing but when I started, I was bored! Then went back to be challenged by Maths.’

This has inspired a thought-provoking session for young girls. Among those is Uwineza Ursuline from Rwanda who is an aspiring computer scientist. She emphasizes the significance of spaces for women to discuss and collaborate in scientific fields. Recognizing the male-dominated landscape, she refuses to be overshadowed and aims to inspire more girls to pursue their passions.

“If I can show them that I can excel, I can encourage more girls to follow suit,” Uwineza asserts.

Her commitment to fostering women’s spaces in STEM paves the way for future generations to achieve greater heights in the realm of science.

She said, “Today we learned about the importance of spaces and having voices for women I believe that if I can get far in math or other subjects I will be able to be a person that can create those spaces and be an inspiration so that more girls and African Youth can follow my path and achieve more in science.”

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These aspiring scientists are defying societal expectations and rewriting the narrative

Not only her but Asingwe Andrina a determined young woman from Uganda, says that gender is no barrier to success in the sciences. She acknowledges the challenges she faced during the PAMO Olympiad but embraces them as opportunities for growth.

Her participation in this prestigious competition not only enhances her problem-solving skills but also broadens her horizons, allowing her to learn from peers of diverse backgrounds. Equipped with critical thinking abilities, she aspires to make a lasting impact as a future leader, solving real-world problems and inspiring her fellow Ugandans to strive for greatness.

Her ambition to conduct talks in schools and uplift young women underscores her commitment to breaking barriers and empowering future generations.

She said, “From the Olympiad, I have learned to think more critically and I think I can apply that skill in my daily life, problem-solving across the country as a future leader.”

“As a young woman, I am prepared to do more talks in schools back in our country and encourage ladies to always work for what they want because the sky is no longer the limit for us.”

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It is critical to create supportive communities for women in traditionally male-dominated fields

Emnet Habtamu Tsegaye also has the same courage, In a society still grappling with gender discrimination and stereotyping, the young woman from Ethiopia shares her insights on navigating the obstacles faced by women in STEM.

She highlights the importance of teaching not just girls, but also boys, about gender equality. As the vice president of a gender club, she actively contributes to breaking down stereotypes and reshaping societal beliefs.

Habtamu recognizes the role of education in shaping attitudes, aiming to instill liberal and egalitarian values in the younger and older generation. Her dedication to fostering equality and inclusivity serves as a beacon of hope for a more equitable future.

She said, “The main purpose of the olympiad is to teach us problem-solving not just mathematical problem solving as a Pythagoras theorem but as solving real-world problems my main goal is to solve problems in education in my country since education is quite variable when it comes to rural and urban areas, I want to reach rural areas and solve problems in education.”

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These girls are fearlessly exploring the world of science and leaving no stone unturned

As these remarkable young girls strive to revolutionize education, create spaces for women in STEM, and inspire others to pursue their dreams and as their voices grow stronger and their influence spreads, we can only anticipate the transformative impact they will have on our society.

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‘We need those voices to break those mindsets. You are the future leaders how are you going to do that?’
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They are exploring the frontiers of science
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Empowering minds through mathematics
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