Aurore Nishimwe // 08 May 2020  SEE:

“ ... The coronavirus reminds us that we need more people engaged in preparedness for and response to future outbreaks and pandemics. Women — making up a large portion of the world’s population — do not have to be left behind. They need to be engaged in science to be equipped to deal with global challenges.

This op-ed offers some key ways to help increase girls' participation in STEM, such as changing gender norms and mindsets, exposing girls to relevant role models, and increasing basic education for all.

And as the interrelationships between living beings and the planet are becoming more evident, it is time to approach global health challenges in a broad manner to help prevent future pandemics. An example of such an approach is “one health” — a multidisciplinary field that examines the links between human activity, animals, and the environment.

Research suggests that physicists, chemists, and biologists are likely to view a young male scientist more favorably than a woman with the same qualifications. In Rwanda, STEM — science, technology, engineering, and mathematics — is a field some women shy away from; culturally, women have been known to go for “softer” careers. However, there is hope that this will change in the near future, as much effort is being put in girls’ education, particularly in STEM fields. ...