Women in STEM: Empowering A New Generation of Women in Sciences
by Pearl Bacasmas, March 18, 2019 8:30pm
Art by Dani Elevazo
When you think about scientists, the first image that will pop in our mind is the wild-haired genius, Albert Einstein or when we talk about great inventors, our reference is Leonardo da Vinci. Except for Marie Curie (a badass chemist), can we name great women in Science without the help of Google?
As women remain underrepresented in STEM, how do we close the gender gap and inspire the next generation of female innovators and leaders? When technology and social movements continue to disrupt the status quo, rapidly transforming our mindset, we can and should work to empower more young women to take an active role in that transformation.
The Philippines represents the narrowest gender gap in Asia. Studies from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) show that while scientific research is slowly progressing in the Philippines and with more women enrolling in university, an alarming issue remains that relatively few females pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
L’Oréal Philippines and She Talks Asia gather four inspiring Filipina advocates at the first-ever #STEMSisterhood: She Talks Asia x L’Oréal Philippines Tribe Meet Up for Women in Science.
The talk aims to spark and to bring life conversations among women—tackling issues on career, gender, challenges, and opportunities surrounding women in Science. She Talks Asia also spearheads intimate opportunities to ask for advice, providing a sense of community and a local network of support, as the world is eager to get to know more about the smartest and most talented women in the field.
During the event’s first leg last February 11, local industry professionals from the #STEMsisterhood took up the panel and discussed their experiences in the male-dominated field.
Carmel Valencia, L’Oréal Philippines Corporate Communications Manager, leading the Company’s advocacies both in beauty and in science argues how women are caged to be the perfect ‘Stepford Wife’ material is not ideal in reality; Alex Suarez, Country Lead of Bumble Philippines with previous experiences in Uber and Google Philippines—advocates for women to join the tech industry and break stereotypes through female representation. While Dr. Geraldine Zamora, Rheumatologist, and Founder of the Lupus Bridging Fund, raised the flag for working moms; and Dr. Maricor “Jing” Soriano, a multi-awarded Physicist at the National Institute of Physics at the University of the Philippines, voiced out the need for female role models and media attention for the women in STEM. The panel discussion took a deep dive on how to succeed in a masculine-led field despite the pressure of society’s unhealthy expectations and stereotypes, and how to establish then build that ladder for the next generation Filipinas to be more open about succeeding in their respective careers.