Director of Learning
You can’t be what you can’t see
Yesterday the global community paused to recognise the role that women play in the world of STEM, with the UN’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science. We recognised this day at Loreto Normanhurst with a reflection during the midday gong, when girls were challenged to reflect upon the critical role that women have played as researchers in the fight against Covid-19.1 Students were also given the opportunity to meet with a female scientist via a webinar hosted by the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne and organised by Head of Science, Mr Little, and our Careers Department. Such opportunities for our girls are essential, as we know that we need to inspire them to see what is possible for women in the realm of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
As a community, we have committed to developing Women for our times in our current Strategic Plan for 2021-2023. There are many objectives that will ensure that our community grows graduates who will tackle our current and future global challenges. One key element of this commitment is to deepen our students’ engagement in STEM subject areas whilst they are at Loreto, in order for them to see the powerful roles that they can play in this arena beyond the Loreto school gates. This objective responds directly to UNESCO data (2014 – 2016), which indicates that “only around 30 per cent of all female students select STEM-related fields in higher education [whilst] globally, female students’ enrolment is particularly low in ICT (3%), natural science, mathematics and statistics (5%) and in engineering, manufacturing and construction (8%).”2 As an educational community, we are committed to fighting the global perception that women do not have a seat at the STEM table, brokering opportunities to empower our students to play a role in dissolving this troubling gender gap.
The first step in this battle is our exploration of many exciting opportunities and projects that will ensure our community plays a pivotal and powerful role in this global issue. We have already had a number of our Year 11 students participate as interns in The Future Project, which provides opportunities for students to work with scientists and engineers, engaging with real-world research in industry-grade laboratories. In addition to this we are also exploring partnerships within the engineering and construction industries.
I would encourage all students and parents to engage with the additional resources that I have included here, as it is important to keep an open mindset about the role that we can all play in the STEM arena. We may not all see ourselves pursuing careers in this space, but we owe it to women throughout the world to broaden our horizons and challenge entrenched gender stereotypes.
When we engage in such dialogue and provide our students with real-world experiences we will ensure that our girls will most definitely come to ‘see what they can be’.
Ms Kieryn Bateman
Director of Learning