Dr. Marvadeen Singh-Wilmot has said that people and businesses should invest in women in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) in order to fuel the passion of girls and women within the Caribbean who are interested in the area.
According to a 2015 UNESCO Report on Science Towards 2030, only 18 per cent of senior academic positions in science are held by women and, worldwide, only 4 per cent of women have been awarded Nobel Prizes in science.
“We have to empower girls, women, and their mentors, because they are breaking barriers in their research against the difficult and challenging conditions that exists for women in science in the Caribbean,” Dr. Singh-Wilmot said.
“Help us to create a culture of science that will continue to empower the mentors, the mentees, all women in science across the Caribbean in general. Help us by investing in mentorship programmes like these. We want to take this work throughout the Caribbean, we want to take it to the high schools, we want to take it to the primary and prep schools. [Create] a culture of science that can empower women in STEM to see it around them. They don’t have to go to the United States (US) or another country in Latin America or Europe to see it,” she added.
Dr. Singh-Wilmot was speaking on a panel discussion at the launch event and press conference for the inaugural programme of The Young Talents Caribbean Region L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science on Tuesday (June 28) at the University of the West Indies (UWI) in St. Andrew.
Singh-Wilmot was responding to a question about what it means to break barriers for women in the Caribbean within the fields of science, technology, and innovation.
She also urged key players to, “Invest in programmes like these and invest in the human capacity.”
Singh-Wilmot said: “Put the infrastructure in place. Put in the research labs and the instruments in the labs so the young children – the girls in the high schools, the girls in the mentorship programme can wake up and see it around them and identify with it. Fuel their passion and go and change the world with STEM.”
Other members of the panel included Professor Marcia Roye, lecturer at UWI, Desireina Delancy, a budding researcher currently pursuing a PhD in Zoology, and Anetta Gordon, young woman scientist and PhD Candidate at UWI.
Created in 2023, the L’Oréal-UNESCO Young Talents Caribbean for Women in Science programme aims to promote and encourage the participation of Caribbean women in science and identifies and rewards brilliant young women researchers in life and environmental sciences, material sciences, mathematics, computer and information sciences, engineering sciences and technology. It is committed to supporting the involvement of young women in scientific research, and scientific careers.
Potential applicants to the programme have until July 15 to submit their applications. Successful persons will be awarded USD$10,000 to conduct further research in a STEM field.
The programme seeks to award young doctoral, post-doctoral students, and early career scientists, within the Caribbean region, for the excellence of their academic level, the originality of their scientific project (as indicated in their application), but also their desire to pass on their passion to the younger generation.
For the first edition of the Young Talents Caribbean Region L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science, two endowments will be given to encourage young researchers currently in doctoral, post-doctoral studies or in the early stage of a scientific research career.
Interested persons are encouraged to visit https://www.forwomeninscience.com/challenge/show/75 for additional information on eligibility and how they can apply.
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