Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has celebrated the innovative spirit of women researchers who have broken new grounds in science and technology, commending them for braving the many cultural hurdles to stamp their names in history.
Governor Obaseki said this on the occasion of the commemoration of the 2018 International Day for Women and Girls in Science marked every February 11 by the United Nations (UN).
The Governor said that breakthroughs by women researchers in recent years across the globe have shown that when spaces are open for everyone to thrive, much can be achieved to advance the cause of mankind.
According to him, “There has been an upsurge of women scientists who are breaking new grounds in various scientific fields. I believe this reality is a call on us here in Edo State and Nigeria to continue to expand the space for women to get into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. Already, we are focusing on basic and technical education to ensure that our children, including boys and girls get a head-start to explore carriers in science and technology without discrimination.
“However, we need to do more and encourage our female children to strive to be the best in whatever they aspire to be, especially in science disciplines,” he said.
He noted that this year’s theme for the event, Equality and Parity for Peace and Development emphasises the need to break down stereotypes and open the space for women to explore interest in STEM fields.
According to him, “This challenge is more pertinent in the age of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). The use of mobile phones and the internet has made it easy for people to access and process information that can enable them break barriers.
“So, we encourage our women and girls to deploy ICTs to solve societal problems and in doing so, break stereotypes cast in STEM disciplines. There are many resources on the Internet to learn from, many mentors to channel and many mountains to climb if they are committed and willing to explore the sciences.
The world body says that a significant gender gap has persisted throughout the years at all levels of STEM disciplines all over the world, noting that even though women have made tremendous progress towards increasing their participation in higher education, they are still underrepresented in these fields.
According to the UN, the General Assembly adopted a resolution to establish an annual International Day on 22 December 2015, “to recognise the critical role women and girls play in science and technology communities. In welcoming the efforts of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and other relevant organisations that support and promote the access of women and girls and their participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education, training and research activities at all levels decided to proclaim 11 February of each year the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.”