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QAST students stress importance of female empowerment in STEM field

QAST students stress importance of
female empowerment in STEM field

Ailyn Agonia
IT was a treat to the ears to hear six students of the Qatar Academy for Science and Technology (QAST) voicing their views and perspectives on the issue of girl empowerment on Sunday.
The students delved into the inspiring lives of women in history and at present and spoke at length on the importance of girl empowerment.
The event was held as part of the ongoing Doha Learning Days (DLD) at the Ceremonial Court of Education City.
QAST, a member of Qatar Foundation (QF), is a high school designed to develop Qatar’s next generation of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) innovators.
In an interview with Qatar Tribune, the students fondly shared their experience of lobbying for a cause that they believe in even at a very young age.
Salwa al Kuwari, a tenth grader from QAST and a Qatari national, said girl empowerment, especially girl’s education, is a crucial concern that requires attention and action. The topic was the highlight of her presentation for the DLD programme.
“It is a huge concern that we need to act on, since according to the statistics from UNESCO, about 130 million girls around the world do not have proper access to education. Girl empowerment is an important issue that is often overlooked.
We are privileged to be in Qatar where there are many opportunities for girls, but this is not the case in many other countries. Qatar’s women are allowed to contribute to different fields today, unlike decades ago when women were able to pursue a career in teaching only,” said Salwa.
Thirteen year-old Haiqa Masoudi said her presentation made her feel like a part of a bigger community that is advocating for an important issue affecting societies.
“I am every curious and I love to learn about new things. It feels really good to be part of a growing community that advocates for equal opportunities for girls and women,” she added.
Anfal Abdulghany, who focused on human development, expressed delight over seeing women’s role in societies get bigger and more significant.
QAST Director Dr Gregory Moncada said providing a platform for their students to lead is part of the programme of QAST, which is the only school in the country specialising in STEM.
“At QAST we really empower our students to have the knowledge and skills required to help solve problems facing Qatar and the world. Part of the learning model is, the students lead. We say, at QAST we lead. So, it’s part of our learning models to be here. Our preparations are extensive. We worked with all the different DLD partners. In the presentations, our students spoke to the hearts and minds of girls. Girl empowerment is an interesting issue. I can’t imagine a world that would not include equal opportunities for women in any subject. It turns out that in STEM, women are historically under represented. As a result, it was part of the overall Qatar Foundation (QF) design to ensure that we provide girls with equal opportunities to excel in areas that they are passionate about,” Dr Moncada said.
He also stressed the inspiration provided by the female leaders of Qatar and QF in serving as role models for many young girls.
“QF believes that women are essential to the overall success of Qatar as a nation and in science as well. QF is led by one of the most inspirational education leaders in the world, Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser. There is a deep love for her in this nation and I believe her vision is very clear to unlock human potential and to ensure learning for all of the children in Qatar and, in terms of QF, equal opportunities for women. Also, I am led directly by Her Excellency Sheikha Hind, who is equally inspirational,” the QAST director remarked.