To attract and develop more Filipino women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) , entrepreneurship and leadership positions should be given to them.
Bb. Pilipinas International 2021 Hannah Arnold stressed this during the program launch of WHWise (Women Helping Women:Innovating Social Enterprises) on Nov. 17 as part of this year’s Philippine Startup Week, citing the crucial role of Filipino women in inspiring young innovators to help solve global challenges hounding the country.
“Science needs women and we all need more women in science. However, long standing biases and gender stereotypes are steering girls and women away from a life in science,” the science and technology advocate said in her message.
“Women play a vital role in achieving developments and our participation should be encouraged and strengthened.”
She recalled that as Filipino-Australian woman in STEM, she has faced many setbacks, gender and race biases and an imbalance of equality.
“There used to be a conflict in my head of existing within society’s expectations of how a woman should be and who I really was. It was in those moments of doubt that I reflected on my core principles to stay true to who I was and be proud of her, to remember my journey that far and most importantly to remember the future generations I was and am doing it all for,” she said.
Arnold, 24, is a graduate of Applied Science in Forensic Studies at the University of Canberra.
“Whatever career or path we women decide to pursue, be it pageantry, or in STEM, it is up to us and us alone to discover our strengths and improve on them, uncover our weaknesses and transform them, and use these skills to enable a future for all. This should not be dictated or decided upon simply because of our gender. There is no finish line we have to cross before we women become worthy of respect and recognition,” she said.
“Young people cannot do it on their own. They need allies to make sure they are engaged, included and understood,” she stressed.
She urged all Filipino women to “take up our rightful space in society.”
“In order to attract and develop more women in STEM, entrepreneurship and leadership positions, we require more women in these positions, which means we will have role models for girls. More girls will choose studies in science, tech, engineering and math. There will be more innovators with diverse backgrounds and over time we will have better solutions to global challenges,” Arnold said.
She said it was her female science teacher who made her realise that she could be a woman in science.
“If it wasn’t for her physically showing up, being herself and being proud to be a female in science, I wouldn’t have believed in that possibility for myself too. One successful woman will create a beautiful butterfly effect for more successful women.”
Arnold hailed the Department Of Science and Technology- Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) for launching the WHWise program for women, for our community and the global economy.
“This program will bring about more leaders and role models for girls. This program does not force the women to see a single vision of someone else, but instead it will convince them that they can make their own vision, they can follow their dreams and live their values.”
She said the program is going to help inspire confidence and belief for young girls and other women too and “help our community and our future.”
“What I learnt particularly over this past year is that every woman, every Man, actually every Filipino regardless of gender, age, race, religion or background has the potential to become a significant change maker in our society. In our chosen fields we should not be girls who compete, but we should be women who empower each other despite what society throws at us. We just need to surround ourselves with allies who make sure we are engaged in the community, included and most importantly understood.”