The Situation Room – Does government have to promote science field to young women?

Mac Olsen
The Nanny State is once again rearing its ugly head, this time to encourage young women to enter the field of science.

On February 11, Canada News Wire had a news release about a federal government announcement. That day was marked as International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

That day, Science Minister Kirsty Duncan announced a national campaign to encourage young girls and women to enter the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

“On this year’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science, I want to encourage girls and young women to choose science – because choosing science helps to create a culture of curiosity,” said the science minister.
“By asking questions and exploring all opportunities, our young women will be on a road to make discoveries that will change Canada and the world for the better.”

Also found in the news release, “the overall research community will become a more inclusive and welcoming place to be.”

Uh, excuse me, Science Minister Kirsty Duncan. But what makes you think that you have to “encourage” young women to enter STEM? Your pronouncement is nothing more than patronizing and arrogant.

It has the air of giving girls and young women a pat on the head from on high. It gives the perception that they are unable to think and do for themselves.

And if this campaign is meant to encourage “inclusiveness,” then why didn’t the science minister encourage young men in the same manner?

However, promoting one gender over the other is discriminatory in its own right.

In this so-called progressive era, programs, policies and laws at all levels of government should be developed in a gender neutral manner.
The International Day of Women and Girls in Science should not be a gender-specific promotion campaign.

It should be designed to encourage all young people into STEM. That’s how you should promote inclusiveness, science minister, not by showing favourtism of one gender over the other.

Oh, and given that young people have access to labour market information on the Internet, as well as to career counselling, career fairs and post-secondary institution information and entrance requirements, this International Day of Women and Girls in Science that the science minister engaged in was nothing more than a feel-good, public relations exercise. Under your pronouncement, I think the following statement would ring true in some academic and political quarters:

“You only got here because of your gender, not because of your merit.”

So, leave the promotion of career fields to high schools, post-secondary institutions and the private sector.

Promoting one gender over the other is nothing more the playing politics with the labour market. It’s the Nanny State playing favourites and doesn’t do anything to advance the equality of both genders. It does not promote inclusiveness.

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