GMO and partners in encouraging girls to embrace STEM jobs

Gender Monitoring Office and partners have on Wednesday 17 June, 2021 conducted a study tour and entrepreneurship workshop for students of IPRC Kigali to encourage them join Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) jobs that were traditionally male dominated. The dialogue also equipped students with skills to enable them embrace entrepreneurship at a young age.

The visit was conducted at Kigasa Hydropower Plant, a women-owned Hydro power plant located in Musanze district, Northern Province; and was attended by students from departments of electricity and electronics, mechanical engineering, ICT and civil engineering at IPRC.

Promoting entrepreneurship among youth through study tours and entrepreneurship workshops is part of interventions of the running programme that works to promote gender equality and accountability in the private sector in Rwanda. The programme is implemented by Gender Monitoring Office in collaboration with the Private Sector Federation, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women).

According to statistics of the last three years (2018, 2019, and 2020), female participation in labor force in technical and traditionally male dominated fields is still low; where by it stands at 12% in energy sector, 17% in construction, and 27% in the Information and Communication technology (ICT).

"Referring on the prevailing gender gaps, the programme organizes study visits and holds dialogues between youth especially females, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders to enhance their exposure and increase their awareness and confidence to join STEM jobs that were traditionally male dominated. Such dialogues help to increase youth information on financing opportunities available for start-ups, mentorships as well as employment opportunities available in STEM fields so that the prevailing gender gaps can progressively be bridged " said Rose Rwabuhihi, The Chief Gender Monitor .

While addressing the students during the entrepreneurship dialogue, the Mayor of Musanze District Ms. Nuwumuremyi Jeannine said that Rwanda has done a lot to create opportunities and empower youth for their bright future. "You should then use these opportunities to realize your dreams and also excel in all domains including in traditionally male dominated fields" the mayor of Musanze District urged IPRC students.

As of now, students from five high schools and one IPRC have been facilitated to conduct study visits and entrepreneurship workshop. Those include FAWE Girls School from Gasabo district, Maryhill Girls School from Nyagatare, College Maranatha from Nyanza, Maranyundo Girls School and Gashora Girls Academy from Bugesera as well as IPRC Kigali from Kicukiro district.