It was not until the 20th century, after the United States and Kingdom of Spain agreed to “liberate” the Philippines from Spanish colonization through the Treaty of Paris, that men and women were given equal rights to education. Across the globe, it was only in the 1800s that women started to become active players in the education system as teachers and students.

Although this is a huge step forward, until now more girls are out of school youth than boys according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). UNESCO Institute for Statistics also revealed that 16 million girls will never set foot in a classroom while 500 million women accounts for adults without basic literacy skills.

In addition to the gap in access and opportunities, societal norms influence the career/scholar pathways of women—especially in hard sciences, and STEM strands.

Last February 11, 2022, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) enjoined the International Celebration for Women and Girls in Science and held an Online Forum titled, Promoting Gender Equality in STEM for Sustainable Development

This online forum aimed to encourage awareness and instill the importance of gender equality in STEM, as well as to recognize the contributions of women and girls in science. 

The National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP) partook in making this online forum happen as Executive Director Marieta Banez-Sumagaysay, a Certified Member of the National Gender Resource Pool, Philippine Commission on Women, started the event with a presentation on Mainstreaming Gender in S&T Research.

Women and girls for Science

NRCP Executive Director Marieta Bañez-Sumagaysay

Dr. Sumagaysay discussed the importance of engendering S&T Research, mechanisms and strategies in doing so, and elaborated about the indicators of the gender responsiveness of S&T Research.

H.E Lenny N. Rosalin, Deputy Minister for Gender Equality, Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection in Indonesia shared her expertise on the topic of Promoting Gender Equality in STEM for Sustainable Development. Ms. Hillary Diane A. Andales, a PSHS- Eastern Visayas alumna and a scholar at the Massachussets Institute of Technology, imparted her experiences as a high school graduate and a young woman from the province (Leyte), overcoming challenges in pursuing a STEM career path. (Regine C. Pustadan, DOST-NRCP)