Women in STEM Bhutan launch Girls Mentorship Programme

As the ratio of women’s representation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics or STEM-related careers and activities remains below average, Women in STEM Bhutan launched the Girls Mentorship Programme coinciding with its first anniversary in the capital yesterday. As a pilot programme, 40 girls from schools across the country will be mentored for six months. This is to encourage young girls to engage in STEM-related activities.  

Yeshey Choden, a space engineer and a STEM advocate formed a voluntary group as Women in STEM Bhutan with members from various Bhutanese working in STEM-related fields exactly a year ago.

Since its inception, the group has been expanding its membership to aspiring individuals from across the country. After a year, Women in STEM Bhutan has members and representatives from eight different colleges under the Royal University of Bhutan.

As the group continues to thrive and on its first anniversary, the group officially launched the Girls Mentorship Program.

Through the project, ten registered mentors will guide and encourage young girl students from grades nine to twelve to take up STEM-related activities and careers.

Interested individuals will be able to register with the group soon. They will be evaluated and selected in the coming months.

The programme also aims to connect the students to women working across STEM-related fields.

The programme will be pursued in two ways. First, the group will organise open activities such as discussions, lectures, leadership workshops, and girls’ STEM camps.

“The second avenue is called the closed interaction which is a one-on-one session where the mentee will get an opportunity to talk to the mentor. So, that will happen in six months. So, we have designed it in such a way that all the girls will get an opportunity to attend six one-on-one sessions, two joint sessions and also a cross-mentor-mentee session which will happen at the end of the programme,” said Sonam Choden, an architect with the NHDCL.

Similarly, as part of the celebration, representatives from eight colleges across the country shared the planned STEM-related activities that they will carry out in their colleges.

A few representatives also shared how Women in STEM Bhutan is helping empower young girls.

The Women in STEM project is a very encouraging and effective program especially for young girls like us because through this program we were able to meet, nationwide, we were able to meet a lot of successful ladies and hear the stories and also plan our success. But at the grassroots level, we were also able to interact with our college students and learn about the talents they have. So, I hope this programme would reach out to as many awaiting young girls as possible,” said Pema Lhazin, a student representative from the Gedu College of Business Studies.

“By forming a Women in STEM in college, I think we will be able to develop a more open-minded mindset amongst the women and people in and around them and also welcome diversity among themselves and inclusivity in STEM subjects,” said Deki Lhazom, a student representative from Sherubtse College.

“Now that Women in STEM Bhutan has expanded their membership to girls pursuing different courses under the Royal University of Bhutan. So, I think it is a very great platform for us to come together, work on STEM-related issues and contribute towards nation building and I think even the young girls who are in secondary education level can look up to us,” said Serzina Gurung, College representative from the College of Science and Technology.

Women in STEM Bhutan has 562 members as of now. The voluntary group launched its website yesterday. It will also come up with a Bhutan STEM Journal which will be dedicated to document the progress of STEM-related activities in Bhutan.

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