Why U.S. is promoting women in STEM fields, by consul general
United States (U.S.) Consul General, F. John Bray, has restated his country’s continuous support for Nigerian women who specialise in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
Bray who spoke during the TechWomen Mentoring Programme for Nigerian Female STEM Leaders in Lagos said the U.S. government was convinced that when barriers to women’s full participation in STEM fields are removed, they do better, families do better, countries do better and the world does better.
The event featured a 16-member delegation of senior tech executives and professionals from the Silicon Valley who promote STEM education and technology in the United States.
Bray said the U.S. government has invested millions of dollars to directly advance gender equality across sub-Saharan Africa, through activities that promote political and economic opportunities for women; access to health and education services; and efforts to prevent and respond to gender-based violence.
He said, “Whether at home or abroad, promoting women in STEM fields is a top priority of the U.S. government. Here is the blunt truth: without women’s inclusive participation, any gains in economic growth and development as well as advances in science and technology would be lopsided and unsustainable. Therefore, it is critical that women’s voices, at all levels, find representation in collaborative solutions that will have an impact on them.
“The American consulate is pleased to sponsor this series of seminars and trainings by leading women technology leaders from Nigeria and the U.S. who are actively advocating for women in STEM. The reason is simple: STEM education is the key foundation for any country’s economic success. Sadly, many young women who pursue studies in STEM at tertiary institutions share stories of being grossly outnumbered by men.
He continued, “In workplaces, women in STEM fields face discriminatory practices and behaviors from colleagues and supervisors including compensation at lower levels than male counterparts for their labor. They also generally lack opportunities for coaching, mentoring, and growth compared to their male colleagues. We have since funded a number of projects to increase STEM education in different parts of the country.
He urged the female tech leaders to learn from experts particularly the application process of the exchange programme. “I also hope this programme will serve as a valuable opportunity to pledge a strong commitment to inspiring the next generation of girls and young women in STEM fields,” he said.
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