Soroptimist International Newtown in Trinidad screens Ms. Scientist educating girls about STEM
It's common knowledge that encourgaging young women into STEM careers benefits everyone - employers, society, the economy and, of course, the women themselves.
So it's little surprise that the focus of Soroptimist International Newtown's International Women's Day activity was to promote women in STEM and celebrated through the medium of film.
Soroptimist International has nearly 80,000 members in 124 countries around the world and has General Consultative Status to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Soroptimist International Newtown in Trinidad and Tobago was one of eight local clubs of Soroptimist International to visit several all-girl secondary schools throughout the country to screen the film documentary Ms. Scientist on International Women's Day.
An exclusive film director interview
Excited about the screening of her film, Director Brandy Yanchyk made an exclusive post-film interview for the audience that addressed topics including her personal reasons for creating the documentary. After the film and interview, SI Newtown engaged the girls in a discussion about STEM and the challenges women face in the field, which sparked some great conversations across a range of topics.
Through this deliberate film choice, SI Newtown wanted to encourage and educate its young audience about STEM subjects and how they can achieve a balance between family life and career ambitions, including overcoming challenges and resolving conflict.
Sharing stories of creating a #BalanceForBetter
At each screening Soroptimist members, from accountants to managers, lecturers, and doctors, told diverse stories about how they balance their professional and personal lives, which was a very rewarding experience for both the speakers and the audience.
"What was also quite priceless, was to have the girls see themselves reflected in us - women, who years before attended those very same schools, sitting in those very same chairs," says an SI Newtown member.
Spreading the message locally and globally
SI Newtown made sure that it spread its message far and wide through an online campaign that challenged members to submit photos of themselves striking the #BalanceforBetter pose. What's more, with Carnival in full swing in Trinidad and Tobago, some members even posed during Carnival events and activities, which was a clever way to create conversation around International Women's Day.
SI Newtown also designed and advertised its IWD event through print and digital media. Flyers were sent to schools, and through these efforts the organisation was able to engage women and girls not just locally, but also globally.
Expanding the focus to other important topics
In the same way that the event's reach was expansive, so were the topics it covered. Other relevant issues discussed included, but were not limited to, cyber-bullying, menstruation challenges, body shaming and mental health (#SoroptimistsThinkOnIt).
Providing young women with an appreciation of non-traditional roles
With a mandate to educate, empower and enable, Soroptimists are committed to inspiring action and creating opportunities to positively transform the lives of women and girls around the world through a global network of members and international partnerships.Through awareness, advocacy and action, Soroptimists work in areas from economic empowerment to food security and healthcare.
Thanks to SI Newtown's IWD project, the organisation was able to successfully achieve its mandate. The event reached over 1000 girls, allowing them to gain a deeper appreciation for non-traditional female roles in STEM and to broaden their minds and horizons about the opportunities for female scientists available both locally and internationally.
An important event on an important topic, the energy and passion of SI Newtown's members certainly helped make a valuable impact on the future of many girls this International Women's Day.