The Dawoodi Bohra community of Vancouver hosted a virtual conference in February 2021 to mark the United Nations’ International Day of Women and Girls in Science. The fun and informative 30-minute session raised awareness among young Bohra girls aged 7 – 14 of the incredible career opportunities in STEM. Farheen Taqee and Naima Munir had the opportunity to speak at this conference, along with Founder and President of the Canadian Association for Girls in Science (CAGIS), Dr. Larissa Vingilis-Jaremko.
The event was officially opened by Dr. Vingilis-Jaremko, who is a vision scientist and has been voted Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada by the Globe and Mail. She commended the event, saying, “I’m pleased that the Dawoodi Bohras of Vancouver are talking to young girls in their community about the wonder of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. STEM provides wonderful opportunities to learn, grow, and contribute to society. It is important that youth have role models they identify with so they can see the possibilities for their future selves.”
Farheen Taquee was the next presenter at this event. She holds a Masters of Science degree and is a fellow of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC). She also currently heads the Department of Engineering at a tech company in Vancouver, leading a team of 15 engineers, scientists and project managers. Farheen presented on her journey to becoming an engineer in hardware technology. She also elaborated on why she chose a career in engineering, and what makes her career so exciting. Farheen wrapped up her speech with the following quote: “Always be open to learning new things. Look out for opportunities and go after them. Don’t wait for anyone to bring them to you.”
The next guest speaker was Naima Munir, Director of Youth Engagement at the Society for Women in Science and Technology, and co-director at Immigrating Women in STEM. She holds a Masters degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering with a focus in Image and Signal Processing. In her presentation, Naima discussed minorities in the STEM profession, and spoke very passionately about advocating for equal and fair representation of women in STEM. She said, “Every woman deserves equal opportunities in STEM, irrespective of her color and ethnicity.”
An engaging Q&A session followed, where Farheen and Naima were able to further elaborate on their respective journeys in STEM. The event was very successful and will become an annual event going forward.