Rapid Economic Development: Needs for Women Inclusion in Scientific and Technological Advancement –Dr. Owamah

A university don, Engr. Dr. Hilary Owamah has harped on the need for the involvement of more women in engineering and technology. Owamah, who is the Acting Head of the Department of Civil Engineering, Delta State University, Abraka, Oleh Campus and President Academic Research and Entrepreneurship Development (A-RED) Initiative, made this disclosure while delivering the lecture for the inauguration of the Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN) titled “The Role of Women Engineers in National Development in a Technology-Driven World”, held at Engr. D.A. Umuoro Hall, Ministry of Works, Asaba, Delta State, on Saturday 22nd September 2018.

Owamah began by saying that though women comprised half of the world population, they are generally, confronted with more challenges in all spheres of societies; the Nigerian women engineers are no exception. The guest lecturer told the audience that because engineers are expected to be creative and innovative; engineering has been exclusively regarded as male profession, despite the fact that females possess these qualities in abundance. He further on, said that this has made gender disparities to be most glaring in the subfield of engineering with women, globally, comprising only about 12% of working engineers.

“Because a diverse workforce is a more creative, the persistence of the sizable engineering disparity in spite of gender gap reversals in subjects such as the medical sciences is a prevailing puzzle ”- Dr Owamah.

In his words, “we need to give prominence to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education of women because they constitute a critical mass of non-harnessed potential in the country and hence, can contribute hugely to national development.

Dr Owamah noted that Nigeria is in dire need of significant national economic restructuring and as such, it is critically important that the nation’s workforce attain and maintain a state of technological and scientific readiness for thriving in the global economy. He said such would require the full development of the potential of all sectors (male and female) of the population.

“The utilization of the talents of women should not be viewed only from the perspective of gender equity as the involvement of women in scientific and technological efforts is today, essential for rapid economic development and sustainable happiness”-Owamah. The guest lecturer called for an end to stereotype, cultural and other human-induced factors militating against women taking up engineering as a course of study and profession. He cushioned the male engineers to stop designing and producing female inclined engineering products without involving women engineers as such had been catastrophic in the past.

In the opinion of Engr. Owamah, young girls need to be encouraged to develop their spatial and numerical skills as foundation for further scientific exploration through the hosting female-focused engineering interest groups on campuses and in workplaces and highlighting engineering role models who reflect the true diversity of our population. In his conclusion, Owamah said that women and girls comprise half of the world’s population and should be involved in driving the technology/engineering sector for the creation of user-friendly technology that is responsive to their needs.

The highlight of the occasion was the inauguration of Engr. Gladys Atiene Kowe as the first Asaba Chapter APWEN Chairman by the National President, Engr. Felicia Nneka Agubata. The Chairman of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) Asaba Chapter, Engr. Ofoyeno Bemigho FNSE tasked the new Exco to carry their members along in their activities.

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The Governor of Delta State, Sen. Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa was represented by his SA on Servicom and Labour Relations, Comrade Mike Okemen, who appreciated the NSE Asaba, for partnering with the present government in the areas of giving expert advice on the infrastructural development of the State. He said such has contributed the realization of the SMART agenda of the Governor. The Commissioner for Higher Education Delta State, Hon. Engr. Jude Sinebe was also ably represented.

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