To bridge the gap of having less number of women in technologically driven field, government at all levels have been urged to encourage girls to study science related subjects, to equip them for national and international competition.
The President, Helpline Foundation for the Needy, Dr Jumai Ahmadu made the call at a forum organized to mark the United Nations International Day Of Girls And Women in Science in Abuja.
Dr Ahmadu represented by the Cordinator of the Foundation, Mr Onoja Arome Godwin, encouraged female students to groom themselves in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, STEM, even as she appealed to the federal government to give equal access and opportunities to both males and females in sciences.
According to Dr Ahmadu giving equal access and participation in science for the girl child would promote accelerated progress towards National development.
While calling on parents to support their wards to achieve their dreams, she appealed to teachers to devote their time to teach the girl child to ensure they are well grounded in science courses.
Similarly, Dr Ahmadu also appealed to donor agencies to maintain gender equality and inclusiveness when it comes to giving grants and scholarships.
“On 20 December 2013, the General Assembly adopted a resolution on science, technology and innovation for development, in which it recognized that full and equal access to and participation in science, technology and innovation for women and girls of all ages is imperative for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls…a significant gender gap has persisted throughout the years at all levels of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)… over the world women are still under-represented in these fields” Ahmadu said.
Speaking further, she gave the following analysis “Women are typically given smaller research grants than their male colleagues and, while they represent 33.3% of all researchers, only 12% of members of natural science academies are women.
” In cutting edge fields such as artificial intelligence, only one in five professionals (22%) is a woman.
“Despite a shortage of skills in most of the technological fields driving the Fourth Industrial Revolution, women still account for only 28% of engineering graduates and 40% of graduates in computer science and informatics…….
“Female researchers tend to have shorter, less well paid careers. Their work is underrepresented in high profile journals and they are often passed over for promotion” she listed.
Dr Ahmadu further pledged that the Organization had instituted a program called Voice of the girls’ parliaments and would continue to support programmes aimed at building the potentials of women.
The event which brought hundreds of female students from public and private schools across the six Area Councils of the FCT, was organized in partnership with Make a Difference for the Needy Foundation and Association of Wives of Traditional Rulers in FCT.
By Remi Johnson