JAM | Jun 29, 2023

Women in STEM need men – UWI lecturer

Candice Stewart

Candice Stewart / Our Today

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Inorganic lecturer at the University of the West Indies, Dr. Marvadeen Singh-Wilmot has expressed that women in the field of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) need men in order for the science-based fields of study and research to develop further.

She was highlighting the need to support all persons who currently work in the fields or have aspirations to do so.

“It is an opportunity for us to acknowledge that women in STEM need men, full stop. Not even men in STEM, but men [in general]. Inclusion is not about one over the other. It’s all of us at the STEM enterprise and that we have benefitted from men like [Professor Ishenkumba Kahwa] and his inspiration and motivation,” said Singh-Wilmot.

“And then, let me just add that out of the Faculty of Science and Technology (FST), we are working and we have to work strategically with the Ministry of Science, Energy, and Technology (MSET), and we are working with the National Commission on Science and Technology. We do have that very close relationship,” she added, hinting that collaborative efforts are in place between the science faculty at UWI and other major players in the STEM industry in Jamaica.

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.

Her comments were in response to a suggestion made by Professor Ishenkumba Kahwa about funding to support women in STEM. He said that a science, technology and innovation policy which states that by 2030, the country should be spending 1.5 per cent of its GDP on research and development.

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STEM. Science, technology, engineering, mathematics. Science education doodles and hand written word “STEM”

He added: “And the policy has already been passed. So, when you do the competition, by 2030, [the country] should be spending around 34 billion on research and development. Can we begin [to] organise ourselves now and begin advocating to get [between $2 billion and $5 billion] from now so that we can reach that spend target by 2030? I am asking that we put a mechanism in place with scientists, women and men, go to the government and demand that this policy be honoured and that the promises in the policy”

The competition he referred to was the programme of Young Talents Caribbean Region L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science, which was created this year.

The 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.

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.

Interested persons are encouraged to visit for additional information on eligibility and how they can apply.

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