On a day set aside to celebrate the “International Day of Women and Girls in Science, the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Ghana organised an awe inspiring event which focused on the progress of girls in science and engineering at the Soronko Academy at East Legon 9th of February, 2018.
The NSBE Ghana commemorated the United Nations International Day for Girls & Women in Science on Friday 9th February instead of the internationally recognized date of 11th February which fell on a Sunday in Ghana.
According to the UN, 28% of scientists/researchers in the world are women. The interactive and educative programme involved topical discussions aimed at encouraging greater participation and empowerment of girls and women in science
The highly experienced cast of experts including from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and the Ghana Education Service brought their experiences to bear on the event which had in attendance female students from 6 different schools in Accra.
The Chairperson for the event was the Secretary General of Ghana National Commission for UNESCO, Ama Serwaa Nerquaye-Tetteh. Special guests included Victoria Ansah (Municipal Science Coordinator), Berthy Buah (Regional Science coordinator) and Olivia S. Opare (National Science coordinator) from the Ghana Education Service and Dr. Elsie B.A Effah Kaufmann; Ghana’s renowned Quiz mistress and a Patron of NSBE.
Delphina Agyare, a facilitator at the Soronko Academy of Technology, admonished the girls to take technology to reduce the technology gap between girls and boys.
Speaking on why this situation is so, she indicated that it was due to the fact that in the house, ladies were usually burdened with house chores whilst the boys were left to explore other opportunities.
She called on parents to reduce the work load on girls and allow them much room to study just as the boys.
Dr. Effah Kaufmann, a senior biomedical engineering lecturer at the University of Ghana, spoke on the topic: “Problems that lead to low representation of women in Science and technology.” Contributing to the discussion, she said that majority of people in leadership positions who make major decisions are men.
She went on to state that if women were equally represented at the top, the decisions that come out to affect the educational structure will be fairly distributed to favor both sexes.
She admonished the girls to excel in whatever they were currently doing and advised them to take advantage of leadership opportunities so that their voices can be heard.
Madam Victoria Ansah, Ledzokuku Krowor Head of Science, technology, mathematics and innovation, and Madam Berthy Buah the Ghana Education Service STMIE coordinator stated that the current state of opportunity for further science and technology education is levelled, and both boys and girls have equal opportunity to further their education and practice of science and engineering/technology.
They called on teachers of the subjects to make the subjects appealing to students to prevent the current phobia for the subject- a case where girls are particularly found to be most vulnerable.
They encouraged the girls to develop interest in the studying of the sciences and technology/engineering. Mrs. Buah advised the girls to try their best in convincing their parents of their ability to excel in science related subjects despite the stereotype, in order to pursue STEM careers in the future.
The United Nations has been celebrating this day since 2016 which aims to encourage greater participation and empowerment of girls and women in science. NSBE has been spearheading the recognition of this day amongst the student fraternity in Ghana since its inception by the UN, having its first celebration at the All Nations University College (ANUC), Koforidua in 2016 and at Ghana Technology University College (GTUC), Accra in 2017.
Science is seen as a motor for human rights and empowerment for the eradication of poverty and for the protection of the planet, yet women are underrepresented in their research and development in all regions of the world, making up only 28% of existing researchers.
The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) was founded in 1975. It is arguably the largest student-run organizations in the world, with core activities centered on improving the recruitment and retention of Black and other minority engineers, in both academia and industry.
Ghana was the first among other African countries to establish a NSBE chapter in August 1998 and has provided opportunities for personal and professional success of its members and since then remains unmatched by any other organization to date.
NSBE’S mission is to increase the number of culturally responsible Black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally, and positively impact the community. The program was aimed at encouraging women and girls in science, technology and engineering.