Encouraging more females to pursue STEM careers should start early in education. IBM Pakistan invited young girls to explore this path by proving a venue to listen and interact with mentors and role models in the field of STEM.
By Tania Ganguly
On March 10th, IBM hosted its first-of-a-kind STEM event in Islamabad, Pakistan called Sahar: Discovering the Era of Digital Innovation, aimed to encourage, educate and inspire High School Girls to pursue STEM careers.
One way to inspire diversity in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) is to ensure that there are examples, role models, and mentors who can encourage bright minds and demonstrate what is possible. So we gathered a team of IBM speakers and local role models who connected with the students personally, shared insightful information to encourage the girls to step up, be bold and challenge the perceived mold of a STEM professional.
Noor Aftab, Chair of the International Women Economic Council, shares how she marveled at the interaction by the students, “It was a pleasure to meet the senior team from the region, and women who have spent their lives in STEM.” Having organized similar events for over 10,000 students (45% girl students) across Pakistan herself, she believes IBM has created history in the country, “Based on that experience I would say this event was landmark.”
With the theme, “Leading with Digital”, the speakers discussed views on what is Digital Innovation and how it is transforming the world and creating new opportunities for women, and why STEM education for girls is more important now than ever. Students were encouraged to participate at an Innovation Jam to share innovative ideas about the future of technology that opened up opportunities to unleash their boundless creativity
IBM also hosted a Women in Tech luncheon with the movers and shakers of Pakistan’s STEM industry. “I am delighted with this and look forward to working with IBM in future,” Aftab adds.
The event witnessed 60 students from top schools in Islamabad and set the right platform to inspire the young talent of today to become the women who shape the future.
The survey response from the students rated the usefulness score of the event at 80% and majority of the positive feedback were received from students from medical and technology disciplines.
Saadia Habib, Robotics Center Manager of Headstart School, saw this event as a great learning experience for their students:
I am grateful that Headstart School was invited to be part of the first IBM STEM Forum in Pakistan. People at IBM are doing a tremendous job.
She looks forward to participating in similar activities in future also.
This positive sentiment was echoed by Shazia Manzar, Middle School Principal of Headstart School, “All students were absolutely thrilled at the fabulous opportunity presented to them and at the encouragement and hospitality offered to them by all organizers. On behalf of all students and staff, I thank you for all the efforts IBM is doing in making students showcase and promote their potential and skill bank.”
Tania Ganguly is the Diversity Program Manager for IBM Middle East and Africa.
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