Girls between STEM and tradition. The right to choose 

Girls between STEM and tradition. The right to choose 

Even without the help of technology, from generation to generation, things are handed down. Cultures and traditions, fables and objects are handed down, creating a time tunnel that often fascinates travelers and scholars. Nothing could be more magical and precious. However, roles and professions are also handed down, predestining new generations to a future already written. Nothing could be more terrible and castrating, especially when it comes to young, perhaps even promising, students. Yet it is a reality we have to come to terms with, today, because it is exactly what teachers like Hagar Biney report. In her Ghana, as she herself recounts, around the age of 9, a rift begins to open between the two sexes. As in a game with unwritten rules, male and female students know they have two different paths ahead. The former, they can imagine a future based on the education they will continue to receive. The latter are aware that they must give priority to domestic needs. Their future subjects of specialisation will be family care and support. Their future classroom will be home.

Hagar and her students.

“It’s like a refrain that repeats itself endlessly, for no particular reason, if no one intervenes. The girls used to stay at home and help, now that they could do otherwise, few consider an alternative,” explains Hagar. The only one that is occasionally explored is that of trade, but on condition that it leaves ‘the woman’ close to home and available to the family. 

To those looking in from the outside at this deep-rooted gender gap phenomenon and its profound impact on any possible future redemptive action, it may seem strange that a smart female student would never assert herself by continuing her studies. Some do, coming into conflict with their families, but without an encouraging context, their appreciable attempt is likely to be in vain. 

“Besides supporting young female students to defend their rights, it is crucial to work on the culture and environment in which they grow up. It would take a lot of public education to clearly and concretely explain the importance of girls’ education,’ Hagar clarifies. From her point of view, the situation has improved in recent years, “mainly because there are now more women in government roles in my country. Or who have made careers in medicine or technology and education’. As everywhere else in the world, role models are the best way to say that ‘it can be done’. To female students, their career dreams can be real achievable projects. 

Hagar believes in this and, in her school, does her part: “I and some of my colleagues have managed to introduce ‘Girls In STEM’ clubs in various schools in our part of the country with the support of Patriots Ghana. A not inconsiderable step forward, also because young girls can not only cultivate but also share dreams, passions and goals. Empowering each other”.

Group picture after a Girls In STEM club session led by Hagar in collaboration with SeedScience teachers and Patriots Ghana staff.

Aware of being one of those women who, despite the statistics, saw her wishes and plans as a very young student fulfilled, today Hagar seeks to replicate her gender success story at school and with her children. “I wish to bring them up so that they are able to have self-confidence and work hard. I would like them to be able to contribute to the redemption of our country, in the way they want.” In her words, she envisions a real team of promising and motivated young people, a team we want to imagine made up of girls and boys. Together.

Article by Marta Abbà with the contribution of Hagar Biney.


  1. In TANZANIA there are some tribes on which they prohibit girls to go to school due to their customers,, example maasai who consider girls as upcoming mother just to stay at home and raise children, and Ather tribes look a girl or woman as tool for intertainment.,others have ana altitude that a girl will be married to other family so if you educate her it will be benefit to that family ‘selfish”
    To fight to all this the following done..
    1.TANZANIA government try to introduce policies of making sure that all girls with age from 6 years old are at school.
    2.organization like Campaign for female education intervain by making Shure that they support vulnerable girl ( not all)until they can stand for themselves ie from lower level to higher level of education,including vocational training for those who fail to go to further studies…Thanx

    Yuliana jasper Mtenga
  2. Thank you Yuliana for sharing some of the realities that are still persisting in Tanzania and how the government is willing to tackle it.

    Thank you Hagar and Marta for putting together this marvellous piece of a blog. I looked up purposefully at the SeedScience Blog to understand better certain dynamics. I am happy I found the experience shared by Hagar.

    I am in Ghana at the moment and despite I am living in the community daily, I find it so useful to read Hagar’s perspective for acquiring information that not always I can easily access as I am still familiarising myself with the area. I am learning the cultural differences also through this article. With a better understanding of certain dynamics, I do hope to approach the community members and have the best impact on breaking any biases and gender gaps.


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