EMWF calls for involvement of more women, girls in science to bridge STEM gap

…….Marks International Day for Women and Girls in science

Ngozi Okpalakunne

Executive director of Empower My World Foundation (EMWF), Nwanda Oluka has called for the involvement of more women and girls in science as this would bridge the existing gap that occurs in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields.

Speaking at a workshop organised by EMWF for the students of Iwerekun Community Junior High School, Lakowe, Ibeju-Lekki , Lagos to mark this years’ International Day for Women and Girls in science , Nwanda observed that the involvement of women and girls in science is not encouraging and added that were factors responsible for that.

According to her, cultural and societal barriers were limiting factors responsible for the involvement of female folk in science.

Explaining further she said: “EMWF findings also revealed; Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM) subjects are taught more in abstract without the aid of fully equipped and functioning laboratories, poor funding of schools, boring science teachers with canes and lack of proper female mentors to guide or propel young girls into STEM careers’’.

However, she stressed the need to review science curriculum, pump in more funding in government owned schools as well equip laboratories, teaching aids to make science fun.

Also, she appealed to teachers not to instill fear into girls, but be more empathic towards them so as to encourage them to develop interest in science.

On the other hand, she called on young girls to start out their careers in STEM fields without fear of intimidation or bulling from colleagues and added that there is also need for work place policies to reflect on this.

To her, there should be no gender disparity in pay.

On the theme of this year’s celebration, “equality, diversity, and inclusion: water unites us”, she said: “Goal 6 of the SDGs is about clean water and sanitation for all which focuses on sustainable management of access to clean water and hygiene which drives a nations’ economic growth and productivity. This year’s theme would focus on women and girls as agents of change towards driving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals of clean water and sanitation”.

Still on the theme, she said : “For us at EMWF, we decided to draw awareness around the central theme by organising a school workshop with the theme: curbing water pollution for sustainable development. Our primary focus was on access to water and water pollution. It is imperative that the capacity of young girls is built early on the negative effects of water pollution by proffering solutions from now.

“The choice of celebrating the day in a school is not far from the notion that students as an integral part of society are able to question anomalies and seek answers or solutions to such issues. The earlier they are made part of the solution, the better it would be for society.”

Highlight of the celebration was experiment on water pollution which illustrated the negative effects of human and industrial waste thrown in to water bodies and how such practice negatively impacts by making access to clean water impossible and poor sanitation that leads to breakout of diseases.

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