(Trinidad Express) – President Paula-Mae Weekes has been roasted for her silence on the death of Andrea Bharatt and a “tone deaf” post on the Office of the President Facebook page.
On Thursday the Office of the President posted a message from Weekes on the International Day of Women and Girls in Science and noted the day advocates for greater participation of women and girls in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
The Express had reached out to the Office of the President on Monday but was informed the President had no comment at the time on Bharatt’s death and the nationwide vigils and protests that followed.
In the Facebook post President stated girls and women must be encouraged to pursue careers in STEM.
She noted that girls at our tertiary institutions tend to outnumber and outperform the boys in every area of STEM, except engineering.
She stated this is in stark contrast to UN statistics which indicate that although women make up about 50 per cent of the world’s population, they comprise less than 30 per cent of scientific and technological researchers and are regularly excluded from science-related fields as a result of long-standing biases and harmful gender stereotypes.
The President added that the Covid-19 pandemic has underscored the important role of scientific and technological innovation in mitigating crises and providing viable solutions to pressing and complex challenges.
“It would be prudent therefore to invest in this critical sector by encouraging the participation of women and girls, as greater diversity in STEM, results in a wider variety of expertise, opinions and talent that can influence and direct scientific innovation,” she stated adding that women have featured prominently in Covid-19 vaccine development and other global and national responses to the pandemic.
The post prompted scores of comments, mostly from women criticising Weekes.