APWEN Seeks Gender-inclusion to Empower Women Engineers 

Funmi Ogundare 

The Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN), in collaboration with Royal Academy of Engineering, recently held the SheEngineer 30 per cent club launch/awards which seeks to encourage gender inclusion and celebrate diversity as a deliberate social intervention project and close the gender-gap by empowering women and adolescent girls within the aviation, automotive and energy sectors in Nigeria .

The programme was themed, ‘Integration and Implementation of Gender-sensitive Policies in the Workplace’.

Speaking at the programme in Lagos, the grant awardee and former President of the association, Dr. Felicia Agubata noted that the project has the objective of ensuring that girls begin to see Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects as being ‘non-gendered’.

She added that the club wants  to help them pursue what interests excites them because the jobs in the future are either in the STEM industries and require STEM skills.

“We intend to train and encourage more girls to take up engineering as a career to close the gender gap so as to attain a better gender balance within the engineering sector, with the objective of filling at least 30% positions in their organisations with women by 2030 through a 30 by 30 strategy.

“Our goal is also to strengthen the internal capacity of APWEN to tackle gender inequality in the engineering sector and also expand our influence at all levels, as well as help build up an engineering talent pipeline with the necessary skills to respond to local challenges.”

As a way of tackling  identified problems, Agubata noted that it will open more job opportunities for more females, commit employers to retain and support talented women, create positive workplaces through training in equality and diversity issues, as well as support adoption and implementation of gender inclusion policies.

” We plan to organise a regular capacity building training workshop for female engineers from different engineering sectors and launch out training/ awareness campaign in public secondary schools for girls,” the grant awardee stated.

The Programme Leader MSC Quality Management, University of Scotland, Dr Evi Viza stated that the 30% club has the objective of addressing a gap that  has been there for years and also aims to change the way business operate, what society expects so as to transform organizations to be productive, resilient and bring economic prosperity to their communities. 

She urged policy makers and more organizations to sign a pledge to join the club saying that it makes business sense to invest in people which  is one of the best investments they can do on their business and their country.

The Senior Manager for the Africa Programmes at the Royal Academy of Engineering in the UK, Catriona MacArthur, expressed delight in supporting APWEN for the second time through its Africa catalyst programme, adding that through it, professional engineering bodies across Africa are awarded grants so that they can effectively promote the profession, share best practice, and increase local engineering capacity, to help drive development. 

“The work that APWEN is doing perfectly highlights these functions in action, from promoting the engineering profession to secondary school students, to sharing best practice through STEM teacher training, and developing a diversity and inclusion policy to ensure that women are represented in senior positions, alongside their male counterparts, ” she stressed.

She noted that engineering sector needs people with different experiences, ideas, and perspectives so as to be able to respond to the best and most innovative solutions to the problems confronting the society.

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