By Ngozi Okpalakunne
In order to encourage families to explore their creativity, bond and understand the science behind their daily activities, Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN) held family fun webinar recently.
Speaking at the event, President of APWEN, Funmilola Ojelade said that the event aimed to bring families together since it is the bedrock of any society.
Ojelade affirmed that the programme which was the first in its series was necessary so as to explain amazing career opportunities that abound in engineering to families that participated in the webinar.
The immediate past president of APWEN, Felicia Agubata who also spoke at the event, explained that the event will encourage girls to enter and stay in Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM) careers.
Agubata who is also a grant awardee of “She Engineer Invent it, built it” stressed the need for parents and teachers to shield girls from believing that they’re less intellectually capable and therefore less suited for STEM
According to her, stereotypes can also be challenged by exposing children to examples of women who have succeeded in STEM.
She also stressed the need for teachers to encourage female students in secondary school by calling on them in class, motivating them, taking their questions seriously and making sure they see the possibilities of STEM careers.
On the other hand, Agubata appealed to government and institutions to monitor gender gaps closely and highlight differences in the experiences of women and men working in STEM careers such as relative pay, working conditions, access to research funds among others.
In addition, she said: “Educational institutions, governments, corporate bodies, our society at large, are in a great position to dispel stereotypes that discourage females from joining STEM careers. One of the best ways of doing that is by dedicating resources to creating an environment that nurtures and support STEM education.”
Also, she called for the support of all and sundry, the government, philanthropists, corporate organizations and well-meaning individuals to assist APWEN in their steps of producing female engineers, adding that association cannot do it alone.
Dr. Evi Viza of the University of West of Scotland who also spoke at the webinar defined engineering as a scientific field that involves taking a scientific understanding of the natural world and using it to solve problems and achieve practical goals.
While stating that everything we do every day involves engineering, she said: “We mix different materials and when we put them together reaction occurs.”
The highlight of the webinar was a family fun competition where families performed a simple task, they were graded based on their creativity, time of completion and workability.
It is interesting to note that three families emerged winners at the competition and they went home with mouth-watering prizes.