APWEN canvasses gender parity in STEM field
With women making up only 13 per cent in the related workforce, professional engineers have reinforced need to improve participation of females in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) field.
They made the call at the International Women in Engineering Day 2020, hosted by the Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN) and sponsored by the Royal Academy of Engineering under the SheEngineer, ‘Invent It, and Build It Project’.
The President, Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Babagana Mohammed who led the call at the forum, revealed that STEM is the future of the world and will keep the world standing, hence, the necessity for the society to support activities of women in engineering through funding, creating the enabling environment, well-equipped laboratories, and making the school system comfortable for them.
With the theme, “The role of women in shaping the world”, Mohammed said there are success stories of women in NSE who have done excellently well in their time and more are still coming up. He noted that very soon engineering would no longer be a male-dominated profession.
APWEN President, Funmilola Ojelade, said one key role being played by the association to boost participation of women in the profession was its SheEngineer Invent it, Build It project, which is the first APWEN grant from the Royal Academy of Engineering UK under the GCFR African catalyst programme which is in phase III presently.
The project, she explained is a capacity-building initiative funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering UK for female engineers, STEM teachers and public secondary school pupils in JSS1 and II in the six geo-political zones of Nigeria.
On her part, former APWEN president, Dr. Felicia Agubata said the aim of association’s various interventions was to encourage girls to enter and stay in STEM Careers through its start young, collect data and expose gender gap and redesign the education system.
Agubata who is the Project Director/Grant Awardee for Sheengineer Invent It, Build It Under GCFR Africa Catalyst Project said, “Given the pervasive nature of such stereotypes, parents and teachers should step in and shield girls from believing that they’re less intellectually capable and therefore less suited for STEM. S She said government and institutions should monitor gender gaps closely and highlight differences in the experiences of women as well as men working in STEM careers.