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Lucy (Wanjiku) Mwaniki Discusses STEM Gender Equality in Kenya

Updated: Jul 24, 2023

From episode: Empowering Girls in STEM: The Influential Role of Teachers and Parents

the United States, one of the things that the government is trying to do is to increase the level of representation of participation of girls and women in the STEM field. So I'm curious in Kenya, so what is the level? Is the level pretty high? Do you think, I mean, how is the impact of the cultural or ethnic -based microaggression in gender disparity when it comes to, you know, when it comes to girls and women participation? Can you talk about that, please? I know you're exceptional. No one can. So let me put it a different way. There are more women like you, basically, who, you know, nothing stops you, you know, you know what you want. And I mean, so, okay, over the year, it has gotten better. Let's just say it's gotten better. The government has worked really, really hard to ensure that things that used to affect the education levels of women are being mitigated. There are a lot of cultural effects that we had in our system, but now the government is working around them to ensure that there's more inclusion of the child in school activities, actual general attendance in school, the policies that have been built to criminalize, they have criminalized children not going to school. Like if a parent doesn't take their child to school, they can be arrested. Wow, that's good. So these sorts of things and policies, they are forcing parents who would otherwise have left their daughters out of school. Now they are forced. A few years back, maybe a decade back, the school had pre -primary education, which removed the whole aspect of I don't have money, I can't take my daughter to school. So now it's just free and they can go to school constantly. And then there's a lot of education in terms of informing parents who are probably illiterate or do not have access to this information. They are taught about the importance of school and it's getting better. A lot of minds have been opened. The government has done with the investment in STEM schools as they call them, STEM model schools in each county, they did not just choose one boys school or anything. They just did one boys school, one girls school in each and every county. So there's a form of equity in it all in terms of gender. So it's a beautiful thing to see. This way, when you get to competition, there's a lot of balance in terms of which gender, it's closer than it has ever been before.

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