To ‘break barriers’ in STEM, women & girls need more support


There is need for more support to help women ‘break barriers’ in the Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) field, a male dominated area, according to Youth Activist Shanae Heber.

Each year on the United Nations International Day of Women and Girls in Science, on February 11, the significant contributions of women and girls within the field is celebrated.

While the day itself marks milestones and challenges that were overcome by these women, Heber, an engineer, believes internal work policies to uplift women must be incorporated.

“Women are usually barred from entering the STEM scene due to structural and societal barriers but we, as a people, have got to move away from that and that starts with us.

“The access to resources and a level playing needs to be provided for women and girls,” Heber said.

Shanae Heber during her interview with the News Room (Photo: News Room/ February 8, 2024)

Heber is also a Rotaract Guest and part of the International Service Committee, and to observe the day, the committee will disseminate a sensitisation video of women and girls involved in STEM.

According to the Women in STEM statistics, women make up 26 per cent of the workforce. This is a vast underrepresentation and Heber believes that if young girls see women promoting themselves in the field, then they will be inclined to get involved.

“I am a woman in engineering…it has a place in my heart because it’s a day that I can use to promote full access to participation of women and girls in Science and we can showcase all the opportunities that are available for women and girls in STEM.

“I think that comes from having representation, when women take up the mantle, they inspire young women because we ourselves are role models and if we have more representation, more women will join the industry. We are seeing women breaking pas the barriers,” she said.

Guyana’s economy is highly dependent on the nascent oil and gas sector and this is an area where workforce is needed.

Heber, a former ambassador for the Ministry of Labour for Women and Girls in the Oil and Gas Sector, suggests women consider these opportunities to harness new possibilities for themselves.

Heber noted that the government is offering Board of Industrial Training programmes that are STEM related for women to join. She also mentioned the Women in Energy Organisation which hosts career fairs for persons to network and understand the industry.


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