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At Sheengineer flag-off, APWEN pledges support for girl child on STEM Education

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Photo credit: Ngozi Egenuka<br />

In order to encourage the girl child’s interest in Engineering, the Association of Professional Women Engineers in Nigeria (APWEN) has tasked itself on the need to train female teachers on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education.

APWEN also emphasised the need to bridge the gender gap in engineering as it was noted that girls were deterred from entering the STEM workforce due to outdated stereotypes that exist today. 

Project Director/Grant Awardee, APWEN, Dr. Felicia Agubata, at the flag-off of the programme,  “Why Engineering Should Be A Woman’s Game” project tagged: SHEENGINEER, a capacity-building program under the remit of the Royal Academy of Engineering UK; a delivery partner for the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), noted that Engineering is the most male-dominated field in STEM, perhaps also the most-male dominated profession in Nigeria with women making up only 13 per cent of the engineering workforce. 

She said: “When it comes to studying STEM subjects at school, male and female are virtually at par in terms of performance but unfortunately, this parity doesn’t always carry over into the professional world thus leading to a significant gender gap in the science and technology workforce.”

Agubata said women bring critical insights and game-changing perspectives to the table. 

She added that equal representation is important in engineering, as engineers design products and solve problems that affect humanity. 

“Imagine the greater advances that could occur in engineering if men and women were working consistently together and using all the skill sets in the pool,” Agubata noted.

She noted the importance to investigate what deters young women from pursuing STEM careers, and also take a closer look at how to encourage secondary school girls to follow their dreams and flairs with regards to the Sciences. 

According to her, this would introduce a broader range of knowledge and ideas when developing STEM innovations, which would help remove perceived gender role barriers.

Speaking to a group of students from various schools at the event, Ibiene Okeleke noted that from her experience as a HR practitioner, sheengineers are usually better in qualification exercise, adding that the best time to be a female is today.

“Now male-owned companies tell us they want more female recruits because there are three things women bring which is detailing, multitasking and creativity,” she said.

Okeleke charged the girl child to have no fears, as mathematics is not a difficult subject, adding that engineering is a vast discipline that could create multiple opportunities.

She advised women to do their best and be ready to confront difficulties and be determined.

President of APWEN, Funmilola Odelade, stated that the project was channeled towards building capacity in teachers and students in STEM and mentoring students in the field.

She noted that the challenges females face with engineering is cultural and religious

“We need to demystify mathematics by ensuring the teachers have the capacity to transfer the skills to the students. We would train 200 teachers in female secondary schools and students in public secondary schools across the geopolitical zones in the country. 

“The aim of the SHEENGINEER programme is to increase local engineering capacity. APWEN will execute the SHEENGINEER programme by training female engineers and STEM teachers. This will help to promote STEM and ultimately increase the female engineers in sub-Saharan Africa to solve Africa’s problem,” she said.


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