BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA
HUMAN rights lawyers have urged government to promote the education of the girl child as stipulated in section 75 of the Constitution to enable them to be able to advance their studies in science-related subjects.
Lawyers revealed this during celebrations of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science commemorated every year on February 11 and aims to underline the critical role played by women and girls in scientific advancements across the globe.
The theme for this year’s commemorations was Women Scientists at the Forefront of the Fight Against COVID-19.
The theme points to the indispensable role played by women in different stages of the fight against COVID-19 from advancing knowledge, developing techniques for testing and developing a vaccine.
This year’s edition of International Day of Women and Girls in Science is the sixth and it aims to highlight the need for equality in science to ensure the attainment of development goals such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
“Take steps to promote education as required by section 75 of the Constitution in order for women and girls to get an opportunity to advance their studies in science-related subjects,” part of the statement by the lawyers read.
“Develop comprehensive plans to address the gender disproportionality in science-related fields.
“Ensure that school authorities do not undermine the ability of women and girls to pursue further studies in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)-related subjects by withholding their academic results.”
The lawyers urged government to investigate the causes of the poor pass rate in the recent Grade Seven examinations and formulate comprehensive plans to resolve the issue.
“Promote higher and tertiary education for women and girls so that they can pursue careers in STEM-related fields.”
They said the increased participation of women in STEM-related fields was dependent on the provision of quality primary, secondary and tertiary education.
“This provision is guaranteed in section 75 of the Constitution, which states that every citizen and permanent resident has a right to a basic State-funded education,” the lawyers added.
“On this International Day of Women and Girls in Science, government is reminded of its obligation under section 27(2) of the Constitution which requires it to take measures to ensure that girls are afforded equal opportunities as boys to obtain education at all levels.”