The Managing Director, Nigeria Security Printing and Minting (NSPM) PLC, Abass Umar Masanawa has expressed his organisation’s readiness to support the Association of Professional Women in Engineering (APWEN’s) quest to ensure that girls embrace a career in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
He said his organisation will institute a scholarship programme to encourage the association’s programme especially in Katsina State.
Masanawa, who made this known, weekend during the virtual inauguration of APWEN’s Katsina chapter, said in order to improve women’s involvement in STEM, apart from advocacy, policy makers can do more by putting measures in place to encourage it.
In his keynote address titled ‘The Role of Women in STEM Careers in National Development’, he said, “policy makers need to measure their performance and take statistics of girls in STEM so that we will know whether we are doing well. We need to ensure that people aspire to do their best.”
He suggested ways to improve women’s involvement in STEM to include: developing projects specifically aimed at bringing innovations to STEM education; inspiring secondary school girls to pursue engineering and facilitate female STEM students to lead the way; establishing STEM talents innovation lab for secondary school girls.
Other methods according to the managing director are; partnering with STEM companies to facilitate scholarship opportunities for women graduates; encouraging STEM industries to make the work environment more attractive to female employees, among others.
“When you educate a woman, you educate a nation. 90 per cent of future jobs will require skills in ICT, unfortunately, women are underrepresented in STEM due to cultural, gender prejudices, stereotypes and lack of opportunity,” he said.
In her remarks, the President of the association, Mrs. Funmilola Ojelade lauded the support and contribution of the chairman of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) Katsina branch for mentoring women engineers and ensuring that they are connected to the APWEN body.
She said plans are still on to hold the Katsina chapter of its Invent It, Build It scholarship programme.
In her inaugural speech, the Chairperson of the association’s Katsina chapter, Mrs. Aisha Muktar Lawal promised to look after the interest of APWEN.
“The significance of what we do will have a great impact on our profession. I assure you of our readiness to work with the leadership of NSE to move the association forward.”