In a unique event, the Girl Up Club of the Canadian International School (CIS) recently hosted a webinar to highlight the accomplishments of women in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). Great achievers in these fields from across the world shared their thoughts and experiences on how they became successful in life and what it takes to grow up the ladder. Girl Up is an organization focused on educating, advocating, and raising funds for girls around the world to bring about gender parity in these fields. The event reached its goal of inspiring younger girl students to pursue these areas in their higher studies and future careers.
Each of the four Professional Panelists shared their accomplishments and challenges with the younger generation of girl students. Panellist, Megane Dreyfuss, Co-founder and COO of Developers Institute, Tel Aviv said: “Every time you have a challenge, do not hesitate to tackle it now. Maybe later you wouldn’t have the same strength, same resources, or even it may not be what you want.”
Sarah Marzi, Edmond and Lily Safra Research Fellow at Imperial College, London said: ”If you don’t see anyone like you in the careers that you want to be in, it becomes a great demotivator.”
“Sometimes, I let my lack of confidence limit the opportunities I take on. Because I think I don’t have the right skills. As women, I think that is a big challenge that we encounter.” said another panellist Nia Bartolucci, Biogeochemist Researcher at Fulweiler Lab, Boston
Panellist Medha Gandhi, Country Lead, Family Planning Policy, Gates Foundation India, said: “There is no one path to life. Follow what you want to do, what you like to do, and take people along with you.”
Responding to their observations, Girl Up Club Member and Organiser, Manya, IB2 student at CIS said: “When listening to the answers, I feel motivated and inspired that I can actually succeed in a career path that is predominantly male. This panel is something that I know that I can show to upcoming Girl Up members, something that they can learn from and view as a sentiment of change.”
After starting the club – Girl Up Bangalore at CIS – I realized that it became a group of dedicated girls who took any opportunity to spread awareness about gender equality, support women’s issues, and discuss the prevalent bias in our own community. Not only was it a beacon of change, but also it provided me with a community of like-minded girls who can support each other during hard times. Throughout the year we have conducted a multitude of events, starting with our informational Menstrual Health workshop, presentations to facilitate discussion of the taboos in our society, and the leadership workshop for schools in 3 different continents, added Manya.
Commenting on the webinar and its theme, Ms Shweta Sastri, Managing Director, Canadian International School said: “The Girl Up Club has come up with the right focus on women in STEM. We need to see more women joining these fields and succeeding as others do. It is truly inspiring to listen to the experiences of successful women achievers. I congratulate them and look forward to more such events.”
As an officially recognized club, all meetings and activities are aligned with Girl Up’s mission and directly benefit the UN programs Girl Up supports. The Girl Up Club at CIS Bangalore is a student-initiated club to continue the efforts of the worldwide organization here in India. The club is empowering girls in India to move beyond gender stereotypes and barriers to continue their education in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.