Mrs. Aya Ayettey, Head-Production Assurance & Customer Care, Stanbic Bank Ghana, has entreated young ladies studying Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) related courses and aspiring to go into STEM careers to always stay true to their goals in order to surmount the numerous challenges they may face in their fields of work.
Aya Ayettey gave the advice during a Career Choices Seminar at the just-ended Stanbic/KNUST WiSTEM Girls’ Camp, where she shared her inspiring career journey with the young delegates. According to her, Science and Technology had always been a fascinating concept due to her inquisitive and curious nature.
“Growing up, I wondered about the magic that got things like cars moving, why lights in cars don’t go off when there is a power cut, etc. This curiosity led me to pursue science and eventually narrow it to technology. Eventually, I realised how few women were in the men-dominated area of STEM, and that motivated me even more to add my name to the list of women breaking the glass-ceiling in STEM.
“My first lecture at university, I thought I was lost because I had more than two guys walk up to me and inform me ‘this is the IT class’, just because I was the only lady at the time out of 42 students. I don’t need to bore you with the disparaging and misogynistic comments I had to endure from my course-mates. This discrimination still sadly exists in some STEM fields of work. That is why I want to encourage you all to never give up. You’ll see, feel and hear worse things about your gender and capabilities in the world of work; but always keep in mind why you started and where you want to get to,” she added.
Aya also shared that lack of confidence isn’t what seems to be holding back women in STEM. According to her, latest studies have found that women in STEM courses are often more confident than men. She further implored all stakeholders to seek other reasons for the failure to attract and retain more women in STEM professions despite many attempts to do so.
The career choices seminar gave about 300 girls – selected from 23 Senior High Schools of the Ashanti, Bono and Western North Regions – an opportunity learn from renowned women and men in various STEM fields; including doctors, engineers, professors and scientists who shared their stories with the girls.
Learning activities at the 5-day Stanbic/KNUST STEM camp included career development and growth; critical thinking in design management; effective communication and pitching; introduction to scientific literature review; and artificial intelligence as well as mentorship. These together with the various practical STEM competitions provided hands-on experiences for students, as well as a comprehensive developmental programme to prepare the girls for a competitive labour market in STEM fields.