The International Day of Women and Girls in Science is celebrated on February 11 each year. This day is an opportunity to recognize the critical role women and girls play in science and technology communities, as well as in sustainable development. At Moja Tu, we try our best to expose our students to as many career paths as possible and encourage them to follow their dreams. This includes empowering our female students to pursue careers in male-dominated fields and reminding them that they are just as capable of succeeding in these fields as their male counterparts. And so, on this day, we celebrate the girls in the program who are pursuing careers in STEM – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Sharon Grace is a 20-year-old second-year student at the Multimedia University of Kenya, pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Computer Science. “My course deals with computer skills and math operations. I discovered my passion in high school since I had a teacher who saw my potential and nurtured it,” she says.
After discovering her passion for science and mathematics early on in life, Sharon worked hard to hone her skills in these subjects. She graduated at the end of 2018 with the highest score on her KCSEs of any Moja Tu student and was quickly accepted to her university. She ignores stereotypes that perpetuate the narrative that sciences are a preserve for men.
“I am a perfect example that girls have what it takes to pursue a career in the sciences,” she says proudly. “Girls aren’t taking up STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) courses because it can be scary to challenge the status quo. I will keep on reminding whoever cares to listen that girls and women are more than capable of succeeding in the STEM fields. Let’s encourage more girls to take this path as it has so much potential and there are so many careers that can be pursued,” she enthuses.
Angela Mwihaki – also known as Angie – is a 19-year-old first-year girl at the Technical University of Mombasa, where she is pursuing a degree in medical engineering. “Medical engineering is basically about servicing medical equipment. I discovered I had a passion for sciences in high school. I found the lessons interesting and I also performed well in them,” she explains.
“My role model is Dr. June K. Mandete; she has a doctorate in medical engineering and has specialized in biomechanics. Earning a doctorate in medical engineering is not a piece of cake. I hope to earn a doctorate, too,” she says excitedly.
Angie knows that the sciences are not a walk in the park, and she respects women who are excelling in these fields. She also rebukes the idea that the STEM field is no place for a woman.
“We need to debunk this notion that only men can have successful careers in the sciences. Girls are not taking science courses because they have been socialized to believe that sciences are for men,” she says. “If we can change this perception, we will certainly see more girls and women excelling in the STEM field.”
Angie and Sharon both believe that we need more women in the STEM field to encourage younger girls to take their rightful places at the table. We hope that these two promising young ladies, and the many other girls in Moja Tu also pursuing degrees in STEM, can act as these role models to other young girls and women in the future. Women run the world!