At the beginning of this month, freshmen students from The Mater Dei Prep Global Institute of Emerging Leaders attended an International UN Conference as high school representatives for UN NGO Pathways To Peace (PTP). PTP is a global organization entrusted in building a culture of peace in the world. The students that were invited to participate were introduced to the speakers that represented a broad spectrum of international experts. They heard from Marie Paule Roudil from UNESCO, Sana Aftab Khan from Microsoft, renowned scientist Gladys Mosomtai, PhD, Rawa Zoghbi of Lebanon, and many other passionate and celebrated leaders in the STEM field. They collectively addressed how the world can use more females in STEM careers and used that as a main message to the students at the conference. STEM programs introduce individuals to careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. The speakers discussed how different countries inspire young women through educating them about STEM and how it is a rewarding and exciting pathway to follow. They also explain that people still need to be more supportive and work harder to motivate more females to consider joining STEM programs. They also spoke about how the initiative to implement STEM programs aimed at young women progressed over the years; the world has come far in equality in STEM, but more still needs to be done.
International Day of the Girl is a day to celebrate and empower girls and young women all around the world. Day of the Girl is used to inspire girls around the world to pursue careers that are male dominated and to end common stereotypes about girls in the workforce. International Day of the Girl is a day that brings young women together for a better and more opportune future. The introduction of this topic to young students at Mater Dei Prep was an eye opening experience that will forever hold a lasting impression in our young women’s minds.
The following are statements from some Mater Dei Prep students who attended the conference.
On October 7, 2020, I attended the International Day of the Girl Conference. What I learned from there is that we need role models to set an example for women. We need to be the force that inspires change. We need to be the change that makes a difference. This conference reminded me that over two years ago in April, I attended the Lead Like a Girl Seminar. This seminar showed girls how we play an important role in this world. Two other leaders and I led a workshop on how girls are leaders in the world. We showed how the three of us got to where we are today. Overall, I had the experience of a lifetime participating in this event.
- Emma DeBiase ‘23
This meeting was about Gender Equality in science or STEM. During this meeting several points were discussed but there was one central idea among all of them, wanting to even the playing field when it comes to women in science. To fight for gender equality is not to say one gender is superior or one gender deserves more rights than the other. It is to fight for the chance for both women and men to have the same opportunities, and to both be looked at with respect. Women make up more than 50% of the population, so why are only men’s ideas being heard for technological advancements? Part of the problem is that women are not seen, their voices are silenced and women in science are seen as invisible. This is because a girl in science is not seen as the “norm” as opposed to a girl becoming a teacher or a nurse. The world needs to stop pinning women and men against each other. After all, taking a stand for women's rights is taking a stand for HUMAN rights. In places like Bulgaria, more women are finally starting to be heard in science and there is a lot more work to be done for us to finally reach true gender equality.
- Mia Rodriguez ‘24
It was an amazing experience to hear from all of these women in STEM and hear them talk about how underrepresented women are in STEM and other fields. A major idea in the presentation was that we need to promote and show women in STEM. We need to destroy the stereotypes that girls all across the world face to get into STEM. By ignoring women throughout history, we have missed too many opportunities for advancement. Women’s rights and representation are human rights and representation. I have confidence that leaders and people around the world are recognizing that more than ever and are fighting to make a change.
- Cathrine Volk ‘24
I recently attended the United Nations seminar on gender inequality. We learned that there aren't many positive role models for young women in poor countries of Africa. We also learned that we must not allow the Coronavirus Pandemic to exacerbate gender inequality.
- Garrett Nolan ‘24
A few days ago I was given the opportunity to attend the United Nations meeting about women in STEM. I thought it was amazing hearing all of these people talk about how we need more females in STEM. I found the first speaker, Gladys Mosomtai, interesting in how she talked about how South Africa needs more female role models in STEM. This truly let me see that even with how far we have come, we still have a long way to go in gender equality in STEM.
- Abigail O’Sullivan ‘24
Mr. George Anthony, Director of The Global Institute of Emerging Leaders, was very pleased that his students took advantage in attending such a prestigious conference. I want to provide every opportunity for our students to be in the company of such talented and inspiring individuals. Soon our students will be in their shoes as leaders and innovators.
Synopsis information provided by Cathrine Volk MDP ’24 and Abigail O'Sullivan MDP ‘24; UN Pathways to Peace High School Representatives.
Visit www.materdeiprep.org for more information.