March 9, 2018

A Think Pink Hard Hat, UNESCO and my daughter

This year's International Women's Day will go down in family history because when your daughter comes home after school announcing she's been invited to join UNESCO STEM Conference on Empowering Women and Girls in Engineering you are one proud mummy.

What better gift could I have asked for than to see my daughter - whom at 14 years of age is blossoming into a strong, independent, critical thinking, caring young lady - marching off to UNESCO's European headquarters to represent her school?

My outspoken, energetic, dedicated, positive and rather loud teenage tomboy has been selected to attend this very special event and needs to dress in business attire. Kitting herself out with mummy's Parisian black suit and white cotton blouse she cannot hide her femininity any longer and looks like a mini-me. Well, big me is inwardly performing a little celebration dance and bursting of happiness and pride. This is what you want your kids to find... a passion they can follow, a path they can forge and a mission they can excel at.

Honestly, I would hop right on the metro with my daughter to join the conference if I could. I would love to hear what the President of the World Federation of Engineering Organization, the former Chinese Minister of Education, the Ambassador Extraordinary of the Republic of Kenya to UNESCO or the President of the Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (all women!!!) have to say.

However, it is the next generation's turn to engage, commit and shape their future and reach for the goals they believe in. Determination, enthusiasm and ambition are certainly in ample supply and happily shared amongst Expat girls' peers.

So girls, put on your "Think Pink Hard Hat" and accept the engineering design challenge. A campaign aiming to encourage more young women to consider careers in STEM, especially engineering, and to remove the daunting preconceptions such as the image of men in hard hats.

Listen carefully and let yourself be inspired by Shaesta Waiz, the first female certified civilian pilot from Afghanistan - the "Dreams Soar" pilot who completed a solo round-the-world flight - to dream big and achieve more, maybe even in the field of aviation, who knows?

As the saying goes: the sky's the limit! You go get'em girl!

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