February 22, 2021 — Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis-Briones lauded Filipino women behind science and technology and their contributions to COVID-19 studies during her speech on the 2021 International Day of Women and Girls in Science program last Thursday.
“We are now at the age where we believe that men and women have been equally gifted by God, by nature. It is something comparable gifts for research, for innovations, for courage, and for creating new ways of studying the state of our planet, our life, and also facing the [current] challenges confronting us,” said Secretary Briones in her welcoming remarks.
Secretary Briones mentioned the significant contributions of women who made scientific breakthroughs on the COVID-19 pandemic. She also cited women-led institutions critical to the government’s pandemic response. like the Philippine Genome Center and the UP-College of Medicine.
“Women, if brought to the field of science and technology will be making great contributions along with men,” the Education chief noted.
Sec. Briones emphasized the need to further give women opportunities in science, citing the discrepancy of the number of National Scientists in terms of gender.
“We don’t have as many [female] scientists in the field but those who are in are making huge contributions. Still, these are not enough, this is still a major challenge to us because there is a great deal of untapped talent, untapped persons who could make even more significant contributions,” expressed Secretary Briones.
Briones also urged the stakeholders to support girls who are leaning towards science and technology.
“For so long, we have had stereotypes of what courses or fields of study women should engage in to be prepared for being a mother, a wife and usually the fields that are primarily related to these are for functions of women,” she said.
“These challenges are confronting us, and as we face this pandemic, and I doubt that this will be our last pandemic. There will be more of them, we’ll be needing more scientists, more people in science and technology, we’ll be needing more women,” added Sec. Briones.
The program also included talks about STEM in Education in the Southeast Asian Context, Women Scientists at the forefront of COVID-19: Roles and Opportunities, Beyond Gender: The Role and Impact of Women in Science and Technology, and Women in STEM Education: In promotion of STEM to young female learners of the COVID-19 Generation.