Peter Uzoho, Oluchi Chibuzor and Esther Ehoche
Women engineers under the aegis of Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN), have said efforts should be made to ensure gender parity in the engineering profession in the country.
According to them, raising awareness and competence of the girl-child in the area of technical vocation will reduce the gender gap in the engineering field.
The women made the call yesterday in Lagos at the grand finale of the Mayen Adetiba Technical Boot Camp (MATBC) for Girls Award & Prize Giving ceremony, with the theme: “Creativity: The Pivot for Sustainable Development”.
Speaking at the occasion, the Founder of the boot camp, Mrs. Mayen Adetiba, said the initiative was borne out of the need to improve the technical knowledge of the participants.
She noted that the participants numbering over 150 junior students were drawn from about 15 public schools across Lagos State to expose them to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
Adetiba said that investing about N5million in organising the three-day technical boot camp was just to motivate the young girls to see the need to pursue career in the engineering profession that has had tremendous transformation since digital revolution.
Adetiba who was also celebrated as a role model, added that it was time for those with resources to fund their children’s education, so as to allow government to carter for those without the capacity to do so.
According to her, “we must contribute to development of women engineers in the country and we want them to start early in acquiring skills relevant to achieving that purpose. This was why we introduced exercises like building bridges and robotics as part of the hand-work to learn how to use common mathematical sets.
“Through the programme, we want to add value to the profession by exposing them to the nitty-gritty of the sector and want them to be good in STEM because we have less than 10 per cent of women to men engineers in the , which is not a welcome trend”.
Reiterating the voices of her members in her welcome address, the President of APWEN, Dr. Felicia Agubata, said the importance of STEM in the 21st century was critical with a view to pursuing a career in engineering.
“MATBC event is targeted at encouraging junior secondary school girls to be creative, innovative and inventive in technology. The idea is to give them hands-on and practical experience through sessions, experiment and site visit to engineering companies,” she explained.
The high-point of the occasion was the presentation of prices ranging from laptop, ipad and phone to some of the students who performed excellently in the practical work that was given to them.