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More than 250 girls inspired by talk on STEM education and careers

Monday, 6 June, 2016

Dr Zeenath Reza Khan, lecturer of Management Information Systems at the University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD) was recently invited to give a guest talk on ‘Women in STEM’ at the GEMS Wellington Academy in Silicon Oasis, Dubai.

More than 250 girls ranging from grades 7–10 attended the inspirational talk aimed at creating awareness and providing them with information about the numerous career opportunities within STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

STEM education and careers are often perceived as being an area of interest only available to male students. "The major issue that still plagues the STEM education and careers where female students are concerned is the implicit bias that is very apparent, but often ignored," said Dr Khan. "Girls are told repeatedly that boys are better than them in fields such as Math, Sciences and Technology. Because of this, they tend to under-perform in tests. It is our job to ensure girls are not exposed to such bias”, she added.

The girls attending the talk were extremely engaged with the presentation and felt the talk resonated with them and their classroom experiences. "Dr Zeenath Khan’s presentation was excellent and made the girls think twice about stereotypes and everyday occurrences that we just accept but perhaps should question," commented Ms Sophie Attwood, Assistant Science Coordinator (KS5) at GEMS WSO. "The girls certainly felt inspired and empowered after the presentation and we are looking forward to working with Dr Khan again in the future”, she added.

Dr Khan said she was privileged to come from a family of women in very successful STEM careers and for her it was not about whether others believed boys were better or not, it was about proving that girls could and can be equally just as good in those industries. Encouraging the girls to consider STEM education and careers in the future, she left them with the message that the power is in them to decide whether they want to accept the bias or prove it wrong.