With the rapid development of technology and increase in science information based on real-world application, it is important to put utmost focus on the education of women folk. Going with the adage which says “when you educate a woman you educate a nation”. STEM plays an important role in the development of any Nation/Economy because it forms the basis for the different emerging technologies that world’s operations are now hinged on. Involvement of girls in STEM cannot be over emphasized because of the role they played in the society. With more girls’ education in Nigeria, there will be a healthier, empowered and more productive nation because the girls of today are the mothers of tomorrow.
Brainiacs STEM and Robotics hosted a women in STEM meet-up on the 19th November at Brainiacs Creativity Hub at No. 8 Ahmadu Bello Way Jos with women from different fields of STEM on the need to inculcate and encourage more girls to consider a career in the field of STEM.
Drawing from statistics from the United States of America there is need for all to do something to bridge the gender gap that exists between males and females in STEM space.
On Girls in STEM education, Linda Matlong Augustine a lecturer at the Federal College of Forestry Jos, observed that women impact more knowledge in the society because they have more patience and care compared to their male counterparts. She spoke on the need to encourage more women to take up STEM education sighting references with women who are CEO’s at many Engineering and technology companies across the world. However, she further explained the need for female role models who have excelled in their STEM careers and equally doing well as mothers and wives to mentor girls on the prospect prospects and opportunities in STEM careers and to also improve their access to scientific and technological education. She further encourages the house to take note of Internet of things as it is the fastest growing technology trend with wide range of application from transportation to health monitoring, agriculture and security.
Bilkisu Abdullahi a graduate of BTech. Physics from the prestigious Applied Physics programme of the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Bauchi currently teaching at Sahel Education Barkin Ladi suggested that making STEM education fun will demystify the myth around how difficult it is to take a career on this subject. She also observed that STEM education with practical application should be introduced early and to all students irrespective of their intended bias. Commercial and arts students also need to understand the basics of computer application and programming.
Dr. Ikenna Charles a medical doctor at Bingham teaching hospital Jos emphasized the need for interaction with the girls thus helping them to understand what is obtainable in other parts of the world. She observed that helping to change the mindset of the students, their parents and society in general will go a long way in changing perception on STEM related disciplines and most importantly the role women play in this space.
Benshak Nantap Dakye, Dr Asogbalo and Khadija Qamarudeen all agreed that publicity on the importance of STEM and STEM related disciplines to national development need to improve. They highlighted the role that government, community leaders, advocacy groups and corporate organization need to play to ensure that the girl child is supported to take up this challenge. Other challenges identified includes lack of adequate sponsorship, teaching resources and poverty as other challenges hindering not only girls but the entire population from taking up career in STEM related subjects. These have to be addressed collectively by policy makers, school administrators, teachers and parents in order to achieve any meaningful technological advancement in the country.
One the issue of gender equality and women empowerment, participants all agree that more girls are required needed in STEM so as to have more Doctors, Computer Scientist, Engineers, Pharmacist, Architects, etc, to meet up the Sustainable Development Goal #5 – Gender Equality. The world needs more creative engineers and innovators to face its biggest challenges like poverty, climatic change, global warming to mention but a few. Leaders such as Late Dora Akunyili, Mrs Amina Mohammed Minister for Environment have demonstrated capacity to lead and be role models women and girls alike.
All participants expressed strong appreciation to Brainiacs STEM & Robotics for promoting and hosting such an important event. They all committed to sharing the good news about the Brainiacs Women/Girls in Initiative and agree to participants in future events including advocacy visits, mentorship and inviting friends, family members and work colleagues to attend the next meet up schedule to take place in Quarter 1 25th February 2017.
If you are interested in joining Brainiacs Women/Girls in STEM Network, you can visit our site or send us an email – WinSTEM@brainiacs.com.ng starting your name, profession and location. Watch out for meet up listings coming to your city soon. Thank you and have a happy and safe holiday season.
This piece was written by Amina Babankanwa Hassan STEM Instructor and Application Developer in Brainiacs Jos, No. 8 Ahmadu Bello way, Jos Plateau State. You can follow Amina on twitter @aminabkh.