23 May 2023

From being a scholar to championing the challenges in the field of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) women have become instrumental in shaping our society. This has been demonstrated in the United Nation’s 67th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW67) Philippine-led Virtual Side Event “#SheSTEMs: Championing Women’s Participation in STEM Education and Careers” hosted by the Department of Science and Technology – Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI).

In celebration of women’s month, presenters and speakers from the United Nations entities, private sector, and civil society, along with DOST-SEI’s Director Dr. Josette Biyo, gathered on the virtual stage and shared their own significant stories as women. They encouraged women to continue to own up their achievements and continue pursuing STEM because it is a field where they can thrive and are meant to succeed.

The virtual event was hosted via the DOST-SEI Gender and Development Facebook page with almost 2,000 viewers and 80 participants on Zoom.

A planet being named after me will pave a way for the rise of the planet of Filipino women in Science.” These were Dr. Josette T. Biyo’s words as she led the virtual event with her presentation “The Rise of the Planet of Filipina Women in Science.” She emphasized that the participation of women in STEM has greatly increased over the years, backed by the DOST-SEI Women in Science: Fact Sheet where it was observed that female employees in the S&T fields increased from 179 thousand in 1990 to 445 thousand in 2015, with a 148% increase in 25 years.

DOST-SEI also spearheaded various activities which began on March 1 through posting of the virtual messages of Director Biyo and Deputy Director Engr. Albert G. Mariño on the SEI-GAD’s official Facebook Page, followed by a series of poster feature of four women in STEM in celebration of International Women’s Day, who were scholars and are now making their mark in their respective fields, namely, Ms. Karen Mallorca Gardose, Special Science Teacher 1 at Man- it Integrated School; Engr. Jessica Vien Mandi, Senior Economic Development Specialist, National Economic and Development Authority; Dr. Marian De Leon, Director University of the Philippines Los Baños – Museum of Natural History, Los Baños, Laguna.

SEI employees and assigned personnel were also featured in a series of poster features for the whole month of March.

With this year’s theme: “WE for Gender Equality and Inclusive Society,” the DOST-SEI GAD Focal Point System (GFPS) recognized
Deputy Director Albert Mariño; Chief of the Science and Technology Scholarship Division, Mr. Peter Gerry P. Gavina; Officer-In-Charge of the S&T Manpower, Education Research and Promotions Division, Dr. Randolf S. Sasota; and Officer-In- Charge of the Science Education and Innovations Division, Ms. Cynthia T. Gayya as the four (4) “Leading Persons in GAD” on March 23, 2023, for being advocates for gender equality and champions of women empowerment.

Deputy Director Mariño presented the “GADvocate award” to Dr. Biyo for being a front runner in mainstreaming gender in the institute’s Scholarship programs, S&T Promotions & Youth Programs, as well as STEM Teacher Trainings and Innovations programs.

The DOST-SEI’s GFPS also led a separate webinar for senior high school students and SEI personnel with the discussion focused on Republic Act 9710 or Magna Carta of Women and Republic Act 11596 or the Act Prohibiting the Practice of Child Marriage and Imposing Penalties for Violations Thereof to capacitate its stakeholders of the basic GAD mandates and the timely passage of RA 11596.

To promote wellness, an in-person “GAD Exercise” and “GAD Health and Wellness Week” gave the SEI employees an opportunity to pursue physical fitness targets and promote work -life- balance.

Festivities of Women’s Month was conveyed to the “Tagisang Robotics 3.0 Girls and Gears,” an all-female high school robotics competition implemented by DOST-SEI, as participants to this competition were taught the basic concepts of Gender Equality and Women Empowerment.

This year’s women’s month celebration was a testament to what Dr. Biyo mentioned that “There is no limit to what we can do as men and women, to what we can accomplish.” (30)