The number of women studying and working in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) has increased globally, but the large gap between genders in these careers is still significant. Malta is a case in point. Almost half of the world’s great thinkers continue to experience hurdles in their careers in these fields, simply because they are women. What can be done to increase the numbers of women in STEM?
The Malta Chamber of Scientists is working with academics from the University of Malta, researchers and people within the industrial sector, to create a strategy to promote long term changes in the demographic of people working in STEM.
Women in STEM – Bridging the gap is a year-long project funded by the Voluntary Organisations Project Scheme (VOPs). Its reach is wide, spanning from early learners to seasoned professionals. With hands-on, virtual workshops and puppets shows by Sean Briffa and Jeremy Grech, encouraging pupils from local primary schools to think critically and to bust any misguided preconceptions they have of who a scientist should be. A unique science theatre production by Angele Galea from More or Less Theatre for young adults, incorporates aspects of groundbreaking research in genetics as well as explaining the idea of the scientific method, all told through the story of a young female researcher. The Chamber is also reaching out to women who are currently working and researching STEM subjects, organising science communication masterclasses to help the women in STEM share their work and show the world the great work they are doing in these fields.
These initiatives will help spread the word on research being done by female experts, as well as demonstrate the world of possibilities for people of all backgrounds, open to them in the STEM fields. The aim is to actively change the perception of who can work in STEM and for people to embrace the idea that STEM is for everyone.
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