The Scientific Research Council (SRC) paid homage to nine women who have contributed to the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) field.
The women, dubbed ‘Science & Technology XXtrordineers’, were recognised for facilitating growth in STEM and encouraging children to get involved in the field.
They are Dr Simone Badal, Dr Winklet Gallimore, Dr Michelle Hamilton, Dr Ava Maxam, Dr Lisa Myer-Morgan, Professor Alison Nicholson, Dr Phylicia Ricketts, Professor Marcia Roye and Professor Tannecia Stephenson.
According to Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Daryl Vaz, the recognition of women will help inspire youths and assist in reducing the gender gap in STEM.
Vaz said data show that only 30 per cent of the world’s women are researchers, and only 18 per cent of women are pursuing STEM studies at the tertiary level.
To this end, he reiterated the government’s commitment to building the sector.
Vaz was speaking at the first staging of the Science and Technology XXtrordineers Recognition Programme at the Terra Nova Hotel on Thursday, July 14.
“We are cognizant of the important role of science in creating new knowledge, solving problems and improving quality of life. In this regard, we have not lapsed in providing the policy support through the Science, Technology and Innovation (ST&I) policy; or facilitated partnerships and collaborations with international bodies to propel the discipline further and support endeavours,” Vaz said.
Executive Director, SRC, Dr Charah T. Watson, said the programme forms part of the Council’s mandate to popularise science and technology and foster a scientific culture among Jamaicans.
Dr Ava Maxam, who responded on behalf of the honourees, expressed gratitude to the SRC for the recognition. She thanked all those who paved the way for women in science.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Board of Directors of SRC, Dr Parris Lyew-Ayee requested that Jamaican scientists encourage more participation in STEM by making their studies and work more relatable to ordinary Jamaicans.
The S&T XXtrordineers recognition programme will be used as an avenue to highlight and bring awareness to the successes of exceptional Jamaican female scientists through docuseries, publications and visuals.