September 20, 2019

The Editor speaks: Another International Day I wasn’t aware of……

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Colin Wilson

It seems every day on our Calendar has “A Day” set aside to remember and/or recognize some one, some people, some occupation, etc. etc… The list goes on and on and as all the days in our have been used up there are now more than one “A Day” on the same day.

Only last week Domino’s Pizza was heralding Pizza Day. I hoped our local Domino’s was going to give us all a free pizza. Alas for me (as I love pizza) there was no such announcement.

Our Government Department for Gender Affairs sent us a press release we have published today announcing they are recognising the “ of Women and Girls in Science”.

I confess this is another new one for me.

The release says:

“In a resolution adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in December 2015 this annual date was proclaimed to be observed, the purpose being to :

● promote the full and equal participation of women and girls in education, training, employment and decision-making processes in the sciences,

● eliminate all discrimination against women, including in the field of education and employment,

● overcome legal, economic, social and cultural barriers thereto by, among other things, encouraging the development of science education policies and programming, including school curricula, as appropriate, to encourage greater participation of women and girls,

● promote career development for women in science, and

● recognise the achievements of women in science. Cayman’s efforts are underway to support these aims, and such concepts are underpinned by the Gender Equality Law, 2011.”

There doesn’t appear to be anything special being planned by government. However, by just recognising “the important contribution of the science and technology community to sustainable development and in promoting the empowerment, participation and contribution of women and girls in science, technology and innovation”, it has helped/

We also have published today a joint statement from by the Executive Director of UN Women and the Director-General of also commemorating International Day for Women and Girls in Science. They ask the question, “why does it matter?”

They answer:

“Recent studies suggest that 65 per cent of children entering primary school today will have jobs that do not yet exist. While more girls are attending school than before, girls are significantly under-represented in subjects in many settings and they appear to lose interest in subjects as they reach adolescence. Debunking the myths that girls do not like the sciences and other and gender stereotypes, along with investment in teacher trainings, gender-responsive technology and innovation can reverse these trends.”

And

“Less than 30 per cent of researchers worldwide are women. With too few women in decision making roles and higher-paying STEM jobs, the gender gap in STEM has deep implications for the future of global economy. For instance, women stand to gain only one new STEM job for every 20 lost, in stark contrast to men, who gain one new STEM job for every four lost. Improved recruitment, retention and promotion policies, as well as continuous learning and up-skilling for women can go a long way towards closing this gap.”

They want to change that.

It seems we are doing something here. The aforementioned local press release concludes:

“The Gender Affairs Unit recognises the important contribution of the science and technology community to sustainable development and in promoting the empowerment, participation and contribution of women and girls in science, technology and innovation. With the development of Cayman Enterprise City (CEC) in the Special Economic Zone, opportunities exist for new technology driven companies, and training opportunities for young persons through the Summer in the City Internship Programme.”

Yes. This day is well worth remembering. It is better than Pancake Day and even Pizza Day!

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