Experts call for policy implementation to bridge gender gap in STEM 

Experts have called for greater polices and its implementation to bridge gender gap in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics  (STEM).

The call was made at the Vital Voices STEM Mentoring Walk, done in partnership with Lonadek Nigeria Limited, Women in Energy Network (WIEN), WeConnect International and Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN), with theme “Each for Equal” to commemorate International Women’s Day (IWD), in Lagos.

Programme Coordinator, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Lonadek, Ifunanya Dibiaezue noted that the firm has empowered over 95,000 youths on STEM through various activities.

“Our target is to empower 100,000 of them within this year. The project is called vision 2020 and it started in 2006. We want to ensure more girls in secondary schools are studying STEM subjects and those in the university are pursuing careers in it,” she said 
 
Dibiaezue noted that participants were exposed to empowerment and coaching on career opportunities in STEM. She emphasised the importance of networking, mentoring and passion pursuit as key to success.

Member, Board of Trustee (BoT), WIEN, Ibiene Okeleke said that the organisation looks into peculiar issues faced by women in the energy sector and creates a support system around it.

On the impact of IWD, she stressed that the celebration has caused development as it has created an awareness of female issues and have sustainably made efforts too improve on it, starting from the girl child to women.

According to Okeleke, factors such as unconscious bias, misconception and false information have played a role in limiting women. She also called for women in government to do more in ensuring equality.

Representing WeConnect, Ngozi Oyewole, stressed the need for mentorship and partnership for women to get the best results resident in them.

“This year’s IWD theme makes us realise that women who have the skills to do great things should be supported and treated equally. If a woman is qualified for a position, why not?” she added.

On the importance of STEM, she said: “With STEM you can be anywhere, an entrepreneur, lawyer, engineer among others. It makes you analytic and helps you develop your skill. Show your gifting and don’t be intimidated. Be the voice for other girls coming behind you.” 

Oyewole, who is also the Managing Director, Noxie Limited, called on women to pursue their dreams doggedly, remain focused and constantly develop self.
She also urged women in power to embody the gender right and set the pace for those coming along.

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