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Our Road to Empowering Women and Girls in Science

February 11, 2022 : 6:12 pm

Science plays a critical role in shaping our modern world. Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are core disciplines essential in the ongoing Digital Revolution, propelling breakthroughs and bring innovative solutions to our current way of life. Ultimately, the contribution of both genders in these fields are vital for development and peace, and to promote an inclusive and gender equity world.

For decades, the gender gap in science and technology holds women back from being in the forefront or let alone be involved in STEM professions. The long-standing biases and gender stereotypes have been evident in our small nation as well, steering girls and women away from science related fields. In order to achieve full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls, the United Nations (UN) marks 11th February of each year as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. Today we empower girls and women, inspire, and encourage them to participate and engage in science.

Hulhumalé being developed as the urban island of Greater Malé Region, we are comprised within the journey of Digital Revolution in the Maldives. Our innovations and careful planning of the city has propelled a new and improved lifestyle. One of our key aspects in developing a Smart city is developing smart people within the community, by fostering an inclusive community to ensure an active talent pool through skill development and gender equal accessibility to knowledge and information.

With our mission to become a smart city, we have in the past continued to ensure a gender balanced approach through our community engagement activities. In this regard, we have collaborated with Women in Tech (WIT), a Non-profit organization working towards inspiring, empowering and celebrating women in science and technology. With over 160 members registered, Women in Tech aims to accelerate the growth of women in science and technology by creating opportunities that foster innovation and community building. Increased number of girls are being inspired towards science every day since the inception of Women in Tech NGO.

As community empowerment is one broad area in our CSR, we have always prioritized empowerment of women and girls in our community programs. As such, we have collaborated with Women in Tech in hosting and partnering with a number of programs and initiatives such as STEM FEST 2019, and MANSA panel discussions with WIT to create awareness and career guidance in science fields. In 2021, Girl powered coding program was held for young girls in Hulhumalé with the aim of bringing their voices into creating a Smart City. Our IT section also contributed to the NextGenGirls Virtual Innovation Tour organized by WIT, by providing ICT related information to the participants.

Likewise, our partnership with Ugail Foundation was aimed at achieving Hulhumalé Smart City objectives. Through this, The Circle Academy was formed as a training institute for youngsters within the age of 7-14, mainly focused on teaching STEM disciplines. The Circle Space also consist of a library built on the concept of a modern multi use space where people can read, learn, and carry out intellectual work. Ugail Foundation has been successful in bringing out young talents in science and technology, proving the potential of our youngsters while nurturing the youth in being the leaders of tomorrow.

We firmly believe that female participation and involvement in science is key to tackling major global issues and achieving sustainable development goals. As such, our emphasis on women participation in science even within our small community can bring a difference and positive impact for future generations. Today, let us all celebrate the incredible women in science, encourage young girls to learn more about STEM professions, and work towards eliminating the gender gap.