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As the summer breaks rushes in, there is the tendency for mothers to have butterflies in their stomach. This is true considering how much summer provide the kids and their mom with a break from the school routine of homework, class projects, fund raisers and school lunches. Nevertheless, this does not remove the summer stress that also tags along.

No matter how annoying and boring routines might be to humans, routines still stands out as the king who helps us organize and co-ordinate the human life, hereby preventing many individuals from engaging in useless activities that put their life in Chaos.

With kids having to spend 2 months off from school, parents often find themselves combating with the unimaginable kids’ commotion that sets in all too quickly. Commotion such as sibling spats can lead to tension and bickering which snatches away the peace of the entire household. 

 Houses often seem as though a tornado has hit and the door seems to constantly be swinging  as kids run in and out grabbing another cookie, juice box, toy or visiting the potty once again. Taking care of kids during summer can become a horrible nightmare for most mothers especially when proper plans for summer are not drafted out.  Notwithstanding the holiday should not be short-lived or even totally wiped away in the bid to keep the children, organized, calm and ultimately useful for the little that is needed to be done.  

Proactive mums have found out as well as adopted a few smart plans that could provide a memorable and enjoyable summer experience for both mom and her kids. In the bid for mothers to reduce the stress they might experience during summer, there is no need to send off the children to an insecure environment in the name of summer camp or sleep overs, just to create a serene atmosphere for yourself and your highly time-demanding job. 

Below are 5 smart plans that can create a balanced, memorable and enjoyable summer experience for both mothers and kids:

  1. Alone Time’ Should Never Be Found Missing on the Daily Schedule: The stress that come with summer cannot be totally eradicated but it can be reduced to the barest minimum, especially when you begin to make the best use of alone times. Since arguments and fighting will not cease amongst children especially in situations where siblings are together, scheduling an alone time of probably about 15minutes every day will definitely provide mothers as well as the whole family a quiet time to engage in productive activities without any disturbance. Alone time can be achieved by allowing each child engage in various activity alone. It could also be tagged as allowing the children enjoy their own company.
  2. Reduce Your Commitments to Suit Your Available Time:  During summer holidays, kids    will demand for a whole lot of things that if not properly examined with the lens of necessity, these demands might create a great source of stress for their mothers.  Your thirteen-year-old might want her friends come home for a sleep over, your nine-year-old son might want you to throw him a birthday party, while your Four-year-old daughter could request for a visit to cinema to watch her favorite movie. With these entire request screaming at your face, you must bear in mind that the more you take on, the more stressful your summer becomes. When it comes to summertime commitments, you should keep them to a minimum. To enjoy a balanced summer, your commitments should suit your available time. Don’t promise your kids more than you can take on, because trust me; they can never forget those commitments you made.
  1. Create the Location for the Family Vacation:  Family vacation mean a whole lot to children during summer and where to spend a family vacation can pose as a huge source of stress to mothers during summer. Rather than get worked up about where to spend the family vacation, you could decide to build your own location at home. Mothers and their kids can still have fun during summer by building a mini vacation that takes place at home. This makes the summer break less expensive, without the financial burden of traveling and staying in hotels. With less money, you and the rest of the family can have enough fun to share.
  2. Never Underrate the need to plan meals:  Handling family meals during summer may not be as easy as it was prior to summer period. In order to effectively manage the stress that comes with preparing the family meals, you need to plan the meals while putting vital nutrients into consideration. Too much sugar and other unhealthy foods makes kids more hyper-active, which also make moms a little crazy too, therefore having a meal plan should never be left out during summer.
  3. Get the Kids Engaged: House chores getting tripled during summer is not a new experience, it happens every now and then. During summer, it is expected that you will have more dirty laundry, more used dishes, and more eaten food since the kids are hanging around the house. Regardless of this, one of the best ways to keep your house in order and your stress way down is to designate age-appropriate chores for your kids to perform every day. This will keep them much more engaged as well as help you reduce your stress. Also spice up the chores with fun, you could introduce a song or match steps to be performed while working.

Applying this five smart plans this summer will definitely relief you of the usual fears and stress that accompany the summer periods. The kids can keep enjoying themselves while you rest and smile. 

This summer can be a summer for all and not just for the kids.  

Eloke-Young Splendor

If you want to change the future, you must change what you’re doing in the present.

The truth smeared all over this wise saying by Mark Twain should not easily be overlooked. Most mothers however tend to ignore this simple truth as they assume the responsibility of raising their daughters.  It is the duty of wise mothers whose desire is to raise girls with a confident future to help them cultivate the right attitude early enough. Enlightened mothers who are aligned with the single vision to break through the current patriarchal system of the world will always ensure that their words and actions towards their daughters, never ceases to ignite the passion in them to become great career women in all fields.

It is clearly impossible for a 10years old girl to grow into a responsible and highly admired mother in the future if she has not been tutored, mentored and trained to become that. The old cliché that says; practice makes perfect have long been abandoned in certain areas of human life especially with regards to child upbringing.  There are certain habits which if consistently practiced by the child at a very early stage, will help her become a great mother and a role model to her children. Your daughter will be forever grateful to you only if you patiently take the pain of Instilling in her the vital attitudes which will contribute to having a smooth ride when the responsibility of parenting comes knocking on the door.

No doubt, decision making is one of the unavoidable task and highly crucial responsibility faced by mothers during parenting. Therefore, as children grow older, mothers should learn to give them an opportunity to harness great and prompt decision making skills.

To harness the future mum in your little girl, you must learn to let her have a voice in making decisions. Whenever possible, let her make constructive choices about her life and also about minor things in the family.  You can do this by letting her choose her own clothes within appropriate limits, allowing her choose which mall will be suitable for the weekend shopping, you could as well give her a chance to decide the location of the family vacation, or even explore seeking their opinion on which particular gadget to purchase for the kitchen.

Involving the child in little yet vital decisions that matter to the family will simultaneously equip him with the needed skills to make future difficult decisions when she is older.

As you journey through the process of assisting your little girl to discover and embrace the future mother within her, you must also bear in mind that risk-taking is an unavoidable factor in the life of great achievers.

Dear mums, this means you have to encourage your little girl to take physical risks.

JoAnn Deak, Ph.D, author of Girls Will Be Girls says that “Girls who avoid risks have poorer self-esteem than girls who can and do face challenges”.  Urge your daughter to go beyond her comfort zone – For example, encourage a girl who loves to read only comic and adventurous novels to study biographies of great people who have succeeded in her aspiring career.

You can also encourage a girl who’s scared to ride her bike downhill to find just a small hill to conquer first.” Catherine Steiner-Adair, Ed.D., co-author of Full of Ourselves: A Wellness Program to Advance Girl Power, Health and Leadership, agrees. “It’s important to help even non-athletic girls develop some physical competence and confidence when they’re young. Whether it’s through team or individual sports, girls need to form a physical relationship with their body that builds confidence.”

In your few days, months or years of being a mum, you will admit that consistent openness to learning has remained one of the helpful skills that have made parenting easier, also this trait will be needed to give your daughter a successful ride in her future journey through motherhood.  Providing answers to the endless questions thrown at you by your little girl will teach her to give an open mind to learning in whatever condition she finds herself.

In conclusion, mothers must acknowledge that being a successful mum is never complete until you have replicated such success in a daughter who is fully armed with the prerequisite attributes to help her raise a generation of responsible leaders.

BY: Splendor Eloke-Young

By Eloke-Young Splendor

“If you are nervous about school starting, then your child is certainly going to be nervous about school starting,” Edward Christopherson, a Kansas City-based child psychologist said this concerning back to school moms.  When summer breeze says goodbye and school resumption knocks the door it is normal for anxiety to arise both for mothers and their children too but never mind, take a chill pill and seek ways to fix it. A lot of things can present themselves as sources of worry during the back to school transition period. It is important mothers realize what to expect during this period of transition from summer to school and these expectations can apply to different situations such as, handling the fears of moving to a new school, handling the feeling of being in a new grade or class, handling the scolding from last grade failure, handling a child who had a fun filled holiday and handling the fear of a first time in school. Below are ways to tackle these circumstances, thereby creating an unimaginable back to school fever pitch.       

1. Handling the fears of moving to a new school : Jane might be excited about getting a new school Uniform, being in a new school environment and going home in a new and different school bus but be very sure that underneath this excitement is a loud ranting fear ready for expression in the next few weeks. Now that she is moving to a new school mom should always be willing to answer her questions about her new school and incite her with interesting facts about her school such as the library features, playground facilities, cafeteria facilities, school bus comfort and even extracurricular activities listed in the school calendar for the academic year. She should also make conscious efforts to visit the new school with her daughter, several times before resumption. This can easily translate the fears to absolute confidence as well as create a positive enthusiasm.

2. Handling the Feeling of Being in a new grade or class: A new grade implies more responsibilities, assignments and higher expectations which kids often find stressful during the first few weeks of resumption. When mothers learn to recognize this, the ability to eliminate stress is quite predictable. A great way to tackle the overwhelming feeling of uncertainty which may be associated with this period is engaging your kids in summer coaching classes. This gives her the privilege of being tutored on a personal level which is more interactive and less competitive. Summer coaching classes will help the child familiarize with the upcoming lessons as well as create the right zeal needed for the new school session.

3. Handling the scolding from last grade failure: You might think that visiting the cinema and other kiddies fun places during summer will make your little 10 year old loose memory of the distention she had to undergo for flopping her arithmetic exams last academic session, but that’s a big lie.  Transition from summer to school might be the child’s worst nightmare if she has not dealt properly with the failures of the previous session. Learn to spend time discussing the achievements and failures of the previous session; allow her express her fears or even make efforts to spot out the fears from her body language and words. Then help her build confidence for the new session. Every kid likes to know that mum believes in them so let her know you believe she is going to bring in the distinctions this term. Give her the good luck charm which is your approval of success as this can ignite the back to school fever pitch.

4. Handling a child who had a fun filled summer:   Even after the summer your child might still be basking in the euphoria of the fun filled moments experienced during summer, and this might hinder the zeal and productivity required for forthcoming academic session. Helping your child get back to her daily routine is a great way to whine down the fun filled summer. You can begin this by discussing with your child the new routines for the upcoming session at least two weeks to supposed resumption date. You could also go back to the usual early wake up timing (may be 5am) for school session.

5. Handling the fear of a first time in school: The deafening sound of tears and screams emerging from school buses and school environment at the beginning of a New Year and session can be so deafening. Since it’s a new session and so many kids will find themselves within the four walls of a learning institution for the first time it’s not absurd for children to raise sounds of displeasure on their first day of school.  Visiting the school with your kid before resumption can help her get familiar with school environment. Kindergarten’s first drop off in school can be very tough for both the kid and her mom as well but she has to find smart ways to deal with it. Be strong enough to say goodbye without looking back as well as avoid long goodbye routines. Trusting your kids’ teacher will be very helpful in handling this fear.   

 

Of course here’s a new school year and you are about to begin another journey of nurturing your child’s learning experience, giving her an extraordinary back to school experience will create the big path of success needed for the year. For children, learning becomes more impactful when it is spiced up with fun not fears.  Finding creative measures to ignite the back to school fever pitch in your child will make learning easier and more fun for them, as well as help you ensure you are familiar with her school life.

Mothers generally want to raise children who are innovative, inquisitive as well as eager to showcase smart problem-solving skills. We live in an economy where businesses especially small-scale businesses have become the driving wheel for economic advancements, this therefore gives rise to the need to raise kids who are always willing to use their heads or rather explore advantageous entrepreneurial opportunities.

Some months ago, while doing my weekend shopping in a mall, I overheard the discussion between a mom and her teen daughter who seemed interested in having one of the talking Barbie dolls on the shelf. She began by asking her mom how much one of the dolls cost, Mrs. Taylor replied in a soft tone “it cost just $120, and I would not be able to afford that for now because we still have a long list here to attend to.”  The girl’s next statement could tell anyone listening that her mom had sparked up a desire in her to make money. She asked, how I can make money mom, I want to be able to buy stuff that I need.

The thought of teaching a 10-year-old about entrepreneurship might not have crossed the mind of so many mothers especially because some of them think they are still too young and at the same time might not need it at their age. Nevertheless, if we intend to continually sustain a generation that offers solutions to the countless problems in the world, then we must be willing to raise children who will be financially independent through the discovery of witty inventions that give answers to the needs in the world. Teaching kids about entrepreneurship means giving them an avenue to use their head and become more creative. This will help them adapt early to the reality of being independent and responsible, skills they need for a confident, happy, and adventurous life.

The natural attributes that are associated with kids make them suitable to learn about the needful entrepreneurial skills that call for outstanding achievements in business. Considering that children are more intuitive and inquisitive, the possibility of kids becoming great entrepreneurs is somehow unavoidable. One great way to teach kids to use their head is by encouraging them to conceptualize good problem solving mechanisms that empower them to be problem solving agents in the labor market.  Observing the life of a young child, you will realize that when a child is faced with a problem; a good example is watching a child whose toy car accidentally just got broken, watching the child you will realize he never wants to accept that this toy is unrepairable, he will keep making efforts to fix it even though it might cost him shedding tears. This shows that kids can be persistent at getting what they really want and, persistence is one of the vital and indispensable attributes of an entrepreneur.

Most parents are afraid of introducing their kids to the idea of being entrepreneurs but I think what can fade off this fear is the fact that parents must recognize that teaching a child entrepreneurship, does not completely fade out the school system. Teaching children entrepreneurship at an early stage exposes them to the need to be responsible, self-reliant and also helps them realize they have a task to contribute their own quota to the society.  

As a parent of a 10-year-old, you might be wondering how to help such a tender child understand entrepreneurship and the value it offers. Take a deep breath, and admit that the journey of raising a young entrepreneur is not as hard as you think, you can also try out these few tips.

Here are a few ways to Instill entrepreneurship in a child.

  1. Educate them on Financial literacy by teaching about the importance of savings and investments.
  2. Help your kids recognize that the world around them is full of business opportunities, and finding them just requires some careful observation, self-drive and creativity.
  3. Make them realize they can turn their passion to a business venture. If your child loves animals, you can explore buying her a horse and have her ride the children in the neighborhood for a small fee.
  4. Encourage them to learn even while they fail. It is true that school teaches children that failure is bad but in order to raise a successful entrepreneur, you must help the child realize failure is not entirely bad since it helps us learn from our mistakes.
  5. Let them practice the act of sticking to plans. Successful entrepreneurs are those who have learnt how to take the right steps at the right time.

As important as it is to raise children who will become successful entrepreneurs, you must also make sure not to push too hard on the child especially when you discover she has no passion for entrepreneurship or business. Therefore, as a sensitive mother you must bear in mind that children succeed easily and better when they follow their path of interest.

Research have proven that children possess highly creative ability as well a quick learning capacity, why not explore these by offering them an express opportunity to use their head, perhaps they may be able to create shocking innovations.  

By Eloke-Young Splendor

In these contemporary times, when women are also eager to contribute their quota to the financial needs in a home; the desire to balance work and family life becomes a high demanding task. Every working mum struggling to make time for her kids must first place in mind that what is most important is, “quality time” and not just “quantity time”.  

Every great mum need to recognize that time is one of greatest gifts that should be given to kids as it contributes to creating tight bonds. As a career mum, setting out to work for the day at 6am and returning at 11pm leaves you with little or no time for your kids. Nevertheless, smart moms have found smart ways to make out time from their busy schedule for their kids.

One day, while I was having a discussion with a friend who works as a class teacher, she said to me “Clair, my pupils act like mum-starved children”. This got me wondering whether there are kids whose mothers get so busy with their careers and businesses that they ignore the needs of their children; thereby leaving these children with little or no experience of motherly love and care.     

Workaholic mums stay at their often high pressured jobs for long hours, leaving other caretakers for their kids. Kids experience a deep feeling of excitement and security when they know they have mothers who are willing to create sufficient time for their needs.                  

Here are some ways to show you are not a workaholic mum:-

  1. Make Free Week-Ends Mandatory:  As a working mum week days might get so busy and keep you much more engrossed on work but creating free weekends can help you allocate activities that make spending more time with your kids easy. In order to avoid being a workaholic mom, you must try as much as possible to accomplish all office or job related task before the weekends. It takes a lot of discipline to make free week-ends mandatory but mothers who desire to bond with their children, try their best to take up this painstaking task.  Making Free week-ends mandatory will help you create time for activities such as games, dinner dates and even workouts with kids.
  2. Make Your Kids Look Forward to Mum’s Home-Coming Each Day: As a mother, the nature of your job might be so demanding that it requires you to come home so late everyday but there are ways through which you can be assured that your 5 year old will stay awake waiting until mum gets back. Adopting habits like telling your kids bed time stories every night or simply coming home every day with small gift packages can make them look forward to your daily homecoming.  Make your little baby understand that surprise packages are not just associated with Santa Clause alone. Make her seeing you each day worth it, by initiating actions that continually make your child look forward to mum’s home-coming.
  3. Always know that It is your Job To Listen: After a whole day’s work it is very okay to feel tired and just want to crash, but your  baby who sees mum as a gist partner will definitely not let tales about the day pass. At this stage mum has to place the attention need of her child as a priority. Workaholic mothers never realize it is their job to listen to their children especially after they have been apart for almost all day long.  In order not to be termed a workaholic mum, you must be ready to quit your comfort after a long day’s job and engage in a conversation with your child. Don’t only respond with a nod but also ask relevant questions and make comments; as this will let the child know that mum is so interested in the happenings of her life. This might cause a lot of stress but just know that the end point is to engage in a conversation that keeps your child aware of the fact that work cannot completely erase mummy’s attention and love for her. You can keep the conversation as short as possible or even talk as you have dinner.
  4. Stay Connected During The Day: Technology has done a nice job in bridging the gap of distance between people and it is very advisable for family members and loved ones to take full advantages of the provision made through the various technological advancements. Mothers who are so busy working all through the day can make out break periods to have video calls or phone calls with their children. Also before leaving for work in the morning, you can drop a note or a voice note wishing them a great day and assuring them of how much you love them. For moms with younger kids, consider recording yourself talking or singing on a video or record your voice reading along to a children’s book. If you’re going to miss or be late to an older child’s event, give her something special in the morning, like a good-luck charm or a personal note. Also consider options for filming the event so you can watch it later and not miss a moment. You can also find ways to ensure your kids see your face almost all through the day. This can be achieved by hanging your pictures and that of your spouse in her room. You can also give her small printed photos which she can have all day. Finding ways to create memories of yourself all around your child can help you stay connected during the day.

 

 

Trying not to be a workaholic mum can be a very difficult task but as mothers, it is vital not to let your job create a gap between you and your child.

It is possible to be a career woman as well as the perfect, loving mum.

These tips will sure help all hardworking moms out there to find the mum-work balance.

By
Eloke-Young Splendor

Birthdays are one of the most exciting experiences for children; most kids will even blow off the roof on their birthday if they are given the chance to. Parents also share this excitement as they are always full of joy, knowing their little babies are gradually growing and will soon be adults.

As kids get older, it is necessary to make their birthday celebration more impactful, rather than just party. Wise parents must realize that every new year in their child’s life is very significant, and how it is celebrated is often an opportunity to teach the child some vital life lessons. It is no doubt that parents derive their joy from seeing their children happy; this proves the wise saying that “Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” This may account for the reason why every parent desire to give their children a birthday experience that leaves them not only ecstatic but forever grateful.

Growing up, I have seen birthdays consist of eating, drinking, playing with friends and receiving gifts from people , but am sure there could be more significant ways to celebrate your child’s new age thereby leaving them with lessons that last all their life time.  Have you ever felt worked up while trying to figure out better and more fulfilling ways to celebrate your daughters 9th year birthday?

Here are few impactful ways to celebrate your kids’ birthday:

  • Explore Charity: Making your child’s birth date a day to put smiles on the faces of less privileged children will make her grateful for the resources she has been lavished with during the past few years of her life. Organizing a birthday giving project for your daughter’s 5th year birthday gives her an opportunity to learn empathy through helping others. Experiments have shown that children learn better by example, therefore, a great way to inculcate in your kids, the habit of giving is by helping them practice the act of giving on their best day – birthday.  Exploring Charity as a way to celebrate your daughter’s birthday will teach her the importance of giving back even at times where moments are seemingly all about her.
  • Practice Healthy Eating: Birthday celebrations are so exciting that we are often lured to put aside the rules of good health. Never forget that although your little daughter’s birthday is once a year; it is also a celebration life and good health. Do not put the health of your child at risk; due to unnecessary excitement. There are quite a number of healthy eating practices that can help give your child a fun filled and healthy birthday experience. You could consider preparing healthy goody bags, instead of stuffing treat bags with sugary candy, opt for something nutritious like a granola bar, pretzels or a piece of fruit. You could include fun art supplies or consider using books in lieu of the standard goody bag. Sticking to healthy eating habits on your child’s birthday shows how disciplined you are and it helps her prioritize the benefits of eating healthy.  
  • Attach a Positive name to their new age:  In the lives of children, adding a new age comes with numerous feelings which may include joy, anxiety, curiosity or even fear but one of the ways to eliminate any negative feeling that might come with clocking a new age is by helping kids reflect on a positive meaning of their new age.  
  • Teach them Appreciation:  A child’s birthday is the best time to make her remember the things that she is grateful for. In addition, to the joy that surrounds your child’s birthday it will be lovely if you tell her to say thank you to at least four people in her life who assists her with some of her daily routines like making breakfast, preparing for school, assisting with take home assignments and project.
  • Be intentional about the birthday gift: Realizing the importance of each new year will help you decide the kind of gifts to give to your child on her birthday. Parents who want their children to have an impactful birthday celebration do not just give them gifts for the fun of it. Let the gifts you give your child on her birthday be in line with her goals for the new year. If your desire is that your daughter who is clocking 14 in two days, learns a new skill of jewelry making, then you might consider beadmaking items as a birthday gift items.

Instead of making your child have birthday celebrations that go out of control, why not consider making her day a focused and impactful one.

By Eloke- Young Splendor

Examining the life of a Woman and her journey in S.T.E.M, you will find that almost everything she ever did from the stone age till date has had some elements of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, which in today’s world is referred to as S.T.E.M.

Now, when we think about S.T.E.M and related jobs, we envision Physicists, Aeronautic Engineers, Software Developers, Biotechnologist, Medical Doctors and the likes. We tend to see more men in these fields and it is only natural to assume that men have always dominated these fields. This is not completely true, women have always been in the S.T.E.M field from the beginning of time, however, their contributions have not been adequately recognized or commended. Some may argue that this lack of appreciation may have contributed to the decline in the number of girls interested in S.T.E.M fields.

In this edition, we are looking at certain factors that make up the S.T.E.M disciplines and how much women have contributed to them over the years.

Let’s take a closer look at the genesis of machinery, which we identify as “technology” today, and the invention of some household products; we would find that long before we had modern-day science to create new and easier methods of performing household chores and activities, women had always performed all these activities without the use of technology.  Women washed, cooked, cared for the daily health needs of their family, devised means to preserve foods etc.

Women changed the world through S.T.E.M in areas like:

Research: Many simple things that have been modified today for daily use, were as a result of women’s discoveries, for example, researchers from the ACI, while describing the origin of soaps, state that women found that a slippery mixture of melted animal fat (or tallow), washed down from Mount Sapo (sapo: the name from which the name soap is derived), the mountain where animals were sacrificed, made their wash much cleaner without much effort, this led to the discovery and manufacture of soap. Maybe we owe the amazing feel of clean fresh washed clothes to women.

Technology: Have you ever wondered whom to thank when you’re getting your coffeemaker ready for your first cup of the day? Melitta Bentz was a German Housewife and entrepreneur who invented the coffee filter in 1908. Bentz modified the old tedious method of coffee brewing to a new method. She received a patent for her coffee filter system in 1908 and founded a business that still exists today.

Looking further into how certain tasks were achieved in the past, you would see that there was quite a very strong influence of the women community in how things were done.

Women such as Ellen Eglin an African-American who during the 1800’s invented a clothes wringer, which started the mechanization of the uncomfortable but predominant method of hand washing. Her invention would be further modified as washing machines today.

Eglin sold her patent to a “white person interested in manufacturing the product” for $18. The buyer went on to reap considerable financial awards, while Eglin, disadvantaged in colour and gender, spent her life making a living as a housekeeper and a government clerk.

Going back to the past, and women’s’ contributions to the S.T.E.M field, let’s take a look at the subject of water purification. A scientific process, pioneered by a woman Hypatia.

Chemistry: Hypatia lived in Alexandria Egypt from 350–370 died 415 AD; she was a Hellenistic Neoplatonist philosopher, astronomer, and mathematician. She taught philosophy and astronomy and is recorded as the first female mathematician whose life is reasonably well documented. Hypatia was one of the scientific pioneers that introduced the distillation of water which has now become a common activity in every household. Easy as it now seems, it was considered a scientific exploit meant to make a substance purer than its original state. A process made possible by the contributions of a woman, and not many people have heard of her.

In tackling this issue of how much influence or participation women had in S.T.E.M in the past, it can also be viewed be from a very unconventional point of view. Take Alchemy, (defined by the urban dictionary as a form of chemistry before the periodic table, and speculative philosophy practiced in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance which was aimed at transmutation of the base metals into gold) – some called it magic.  During the time of the alchemist, women had far more reputable standing especially in the depth of their research when compared to men in the field of alchemy. Something their male colleagues did not particularly like.

A good example of such a woman is Marie le Jars de Gournay, who was not allowed to receive the same education in science as her brothers. Blessed with an inquisitive mind, she was able to teach herself Latin and later went on to edit academic manuscripts. As a fully-grown woman and with all the knowledge she had acquired, she became the first female mineralogist and mining engineer.

She later moved to Paris, where she tried her hands at alchemy and published books expressing her views on how women were very much capable of creating a career for themselves in science-related fields like men. During her practice of alchemy, in a time when people still believed in magical creatures and witchcraft. Marie who was very proud of her work ignored the advice of people who cautioned her to stay away from mining. Her bold refusal to give up her practice had her accused of witchcraft and imprisoned, she died in jail at age eighty (80). How dare she thrive in a ‘Man’s’ field, poor Marie.

Isabelle Cortese is another remarkable Alchemist who lived during the sixteenth century in Italy. She chronicled her discoveries in her book titled “The Secrets of Signora Isabella Cortese”. Among her discoveries include; practical methods of perfume production; the production of essential oils and methods of melting metals to make durable jewellery. Most of her works are still in use today.

Innovation: In the area of manufacturing, we have Margaret E. Knight, she was born February 1838, in York, Maine. Armed with only a basic education, she started as a mill worker at age 12. Witnessing an accident at the mill, where a worker was stabbed by a steel-tipped shuttle from a loom, Knight was prompted to invent a safety device for the loom – Her first invention. A device which was later adopted by other mills in Manchester. Several years later, Knight moved to Springfield, Massachusetts, where she was hired by the Columbia Paper Bag Company; here she invented a machine that folds and glues paper to form the flat-bottomed brown paper bags familiar to shoppers today.

While Knight was still working to perfect the processing machinery, Charles F Annan, a would-be-inventor of dubious morality, tried to bully her out of her hard work, stealing her design, and patenting the device. Knight filed a successful patent interference lawsuit and in 1871, and she was awarded the patent. Before her death, Knight held over 20 patents and a decoration by Queen Victoria.  At the time of her death in 1914, an obituary described her as a “Woman Edison” A name which many people will come to remember her by. Somewhat dispiriting, to think that she needed a reference to male inventor for the value of her work to be understood?

Katharine Burr Blodgett is another remarkable woman, an American physicist, and chemist known for her work on surface chemistry. Blodgett contributed important research to military needs. Her work in chemistry resulted in her most influential invention: non-reflective glass. Her non-reflective glass is today, an essential for eyeglasses, car windshields, and computer screens. She was a pioneer in several respects, but how many know about her?

The list of women that have made remarkable contributions to various branches of S.T.E.M remain unending, however, the questions remain “What happened?”, “Where did it all change?”. Women had always been in the S.T.E.M field, what held them back to create the gap?

We can see that there was quite a large number of women who were genuinely interested in this field of study, but over time the number began to dwindle. Taking into consideration, the environmental, societal and mental factors that have come into play between then and now, we can begin to understand why women and girls are slowly losing interest in the S.T.E.M. community.

Some of the reasons include: They were not encouraged; they were held back by pressures; their efforts were sabotaged, and they are oftentimes not acknowledged for their contributions.

The most common is lack of Encouragement. Most cultures in the world have given a high level of dominance to the male-folks when it comes to studying S.T.E.M related courses. It is no new issue that some countries see the place of the woman solely in a domestic light. Little wonder girls who study in all girl’s schools tend to be more interested in the S.T.E.M field, and oftentimes outperform their co-ed counterparts. Psychologists found they have less discouragement and little or no negative comparison which their co-ed counterparts are regularly faced with.

What do we do?

Create an “I Can Do It” Atmosphere. In order to excite the minds young girls into studying S.T.E.M related courses, they need to be exposed to the right atmosphere. Vanessa Vakharia who runs The Math Guru science and math studio noted that one of the reasons for the low number of girls in science, is simple; many girls have come to believe that they do not have what it takes to be in S.T.E.M. She advises that incorporating a more psychological and critical means of approach would benefit the girls, especially while they are still trying to figure out who they are.  

Mentors and Role Models for Girls in S.T.E.M. The place of role models cannot be overemphasized when it comes to the girl child development, this cuts across all areas, education, workforce etc. Increasing access to S.T.E.M Mentors (women who have excelled in these fields) for the young girls, would go a long way toward building their self-confidence. Interaction with S.T.E.M mentors would serve as a confidence booster, and as a driving force towards achieving their goals.

Condition their minds. It’s quite common knowledge parents and guardians play an important role in preparing their children psychologically towards their career path. They can do this in various ways; for instance, introducing a variety of television programs that can help them identify what their kids are interested in – e.g. kids may show interest in S.T.E.M inclined programs like Doc McStuffins or Dexter’s Laboratory, which gives you an idea of where best to channel their energy

Other areas include; S.T.E.M inclined books, toys, fun activities like visiting the aquarium; that way you will awaken the marine biologist in them. You can also encourage your girls to participate in their school’s science exhibitions e.t.c.

While early school years can contribute to developing an interest in S.T.E.M in girls, parents can also work towards encouraging their kids with the littlest things in their surroundings. A little nudge once in a while can help create that enthusiasm to study.

S.T.E.M is a very broad and interesting study area and having more women interested in it will definitely be better for the world.