Women urged to leverage on networking to improve participation in STEM

Some women in Technology on Tuesday urged women to leverage on networking, collaboration to improve participation in Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM) and achieve greatness in technology and national development.

The women made the call at the inaugural TechWomen Nigeria Alumni Conference in collaboration with the U.S. Consulate, Lagos and Entrepreneurship and Skill Development Centre (ESDC), University of Lagos.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the inaugural conference was “Advancing the Global Leadership of Nigerian Women in STEM’’.

The Consul-General, U.S. Consulate, Claire Pierangelo, said that the TechWomen Inaugural Conference was not only to learn about Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) but also to network.

Pierangelo said that this was because great things could be achieved through networking, mentorship and support for each other.

According to her, knowledge is key but networking is power and as such the United Nations has been promoting the rights and the empowerment of women.

”Since 2013, we have been sponsoring five to eight women for five weeks on mentorship and exchange programmes.

”It is to strengthen their participation in their various capacities in their communities and create a network for mentorship.

”We are hoping at the end of the conference more women will be interested in STEM and networking to achieve great things, ” she said.

Pierangelo, however, expressed excitement over the TechWomen conference; using their skills to empower young women who were going to be future TechWomen.

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In her welcome address, Prof. Folashade Ogunsola, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Development Services, University of Lagos, said that in time to come, technology was going to change how work was being done.

She said that it was not an option to have women in technology but necessary for our survival because, in time to come, the jobs would be basically on the computer.

Ogunsola said that one of the challenges facing women not to be in technology was cultural practices and fear on the part of women.

According to her, women should lose their fears and believe that there is nothing one cannot achieve as long as it is legal.

She said that technology should be seen as a tool to solve problems.

The deputy vice-chancellor said the University had a Development and Entrepreneurship Centre where young people were encouraged and ready to partner with TechWomen to inspire young people.

In an overview of TechWomen, Dr Joy Agene, Natural Resources Management Specialist, World Bank Group, said that TechWomen was launched to empower and connect women by giving them access to role models in their career.

Agene also a Space Scientist, said that the TechWomen gave back to the society by encouraging young ladies to build a career in STEM.

She said that the objective of TechWomen was to provide mentorship and exchange opportunities for female, expand girls’ interest in a STEM career by exposing them to role models.

Agene, TechWomen Fellow, said that it was also to increase mutual understanding through a network of professionals.

NAN reports that there were more than 30 female scientists in the field of STEM as Fellows in TechWomen, Nigeria.

(NAN)

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