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Photo: Sashawna McLeod

Photo: Sashawna McLeod


The Soroptimist International Jamaica (Kingston) Club in collaboration with the Bureau of Gender Affairs (BGA) in commemoration of the United Nation’s Day of Women and Girls in Science selected Sashawna McLeod as the first awardee in Jamaica. She was feted at the pre-valentine luncheon of the Soroptimist Club on February 12, 2017 at the Pollyanna’s Restaurant in Kingston, Jamaica.

Sashawna is a student in the Faculty of Science and Sport and is pursuing a Bachelor of Science and Education degree majoring in mathematics and physics. She is doing her teaching practice at Dunoon Park Technical High School in the subject areas of physics, integrated science and mathematics. Sashawna graduated from Camperdown High School in 2013 and she has volunteered at her alma mater ever since. Her statement of purpose expresses her desire to use her special skills to impact society positively and contribute to national development. Sashwana received a book grant, certificate and gifts

Women have a far way to go in the field of science

President of Soroptimist International Jamaica Kingston, Ellen Campbell Grizzle, speaking at the event, said that enabling and empowering of young women like Sashawna is the “raison d’etre” of the Soroptimist movement. “We are best for women and girls. Ever since the founding of Soroptimism in Jamaica in 1962, we have advocated for the advancement of women in all spheres. We know that women in the field of science have made strides but we have a far way to go.” she said. Soroptimist Elaine Brouers a founding member of the UN sponsored Organization of Women in Science in the Developing World (OWSD), coordinates the “Women in Science” project with the BGA and the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) said, “Given the importance of Science Technology and Innovation to national development, the Committee will be expanded to include other stakeholders next year, when one woman and one student will be rewarded.” The BGA Representative endorsed these sentiments.

No country can move forward with half of its creativity, energy and dreams-UN

The International Day of Women in Science was established through a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly declaring that 11 February as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. The United Nations encourages nation states to commemorate the International Day of Women in Science to symbolize the need for women and girls to gain full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls, and further achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. According to a study conducted in 14 countries, the probability for female students of graduating with a Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree and Doctor’s degree in science-related field are 18%, 8% and 2% respectively, while the percentages of male students are 37%, 18% and 6%. This gap throws a shadow over entire societies, as no country can move forward with only half its creativity, energy, and dreams.

Commentary

Better Late Than Never …

The emphasis on Science & Technology in our society is commendable. To grow we need more focus on Science subject areas (physics, math, biology etc.  We therefore congratulate the Soroptimist International Club for their focus on Science and women’s affairs is good news. Our hats off to Elaine Brouers et al for their vision and leadership … the Soroptimist International Club is on to a great thing. Congrats!

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