The Association of professional women Engineers of Nigeria, APWEN joined its counterparts across the world to mark the 2020 edition of International Women in Engineering Day yesterday.
The event, with theme:, ‘The role of Women in shaping the world’ was marked across the country and culminated in an online conference which drew over 300 participants home and abroad.
The event had in attendance the governor of Kebbi state, H.E. Sen. Abubakar Bagudu who was represented by the SSG, Alhaji Umar Babale, the Deputy chief whip, House of Representative, Hon. Barr. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, President of the Nigerian society of Engineers, Engr Babagana Mohammed, Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigerian, COREN President, Engr Ali Rabiu, Dr Evi Viza, the program coordinator for the postgraduate studies of Quality Management and Project Management at the University of the West Scotland, the Executive Vice President of World Federation of Engineering Organization (WFEO), Engr Mustapha Balarabe Shehu, the President of the Federation of African Engineering organization (FAEO), Engr Martin Manuhwa, wife of the deputy governor of Delta state, Engr. Ebiere Otuaro, former NSE president Engr Isaac Olorunfemi, NImMchE National Chairman Engr Prof. Muhammed Ndaliman, former NIMechE National Chairman, Engr. Dr. Robinson Ejilah , others present included the founders and past presidents, and other members of the association. First female Head of Services of Nigeria, Engr Ebele Okeke, SSA Works to LASG, Engr. Aramide Adeoye, to mention but few.
kicking off the event, the APWEN President, Engr Funmilola Ojelade, in her opening Address said the International Women in Engineering Day is being celebrated in Nigeria for the first time though it is in its 7th International Edition. She traced the origin to 2017, when the National Women in Engineering Day became internationally recognised due to the interest and enthusiasm demonstrated by the international community of scientists and engineers in the previous years.
Ojelade further said that the INWED is an international awareness event aimed towards raising the profile of women in engineering and focuses attention on the amazing career opportunities available to girls in the engineering world. Since its launch in 2014 the event has grown enormously over the years and also received UNESCO supports.
Further, she said APWEN, as a division of the Nigerian Society of Engineers representing the Women in Engineering is happy to key into the euphoria of the international community to celebrate our women in engineering every 23rd of June, each year.
She revealed that, “APWEN entered into a productive partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering, United Kingdom in 2019 with the ShEngineer Invent It, Build It Project.”
Engr. Ojelade also used the opportunity to pay tribute to the late heroes and heroines in Engineering among whom are the first female engineer, Fatima Ta Allah Imwa from northern Nigeria who served as a motivator for many others in Northern Nigeria; The vice chairman of APWEN Port Harcourt also passed away recently, Engr Inachaba; and former president of NSE, Engr. Ibrahim Khaleel Inuwa, former GMD NNPC, Engr. Maikanti Baru: all of whom are champions of engineering and strong supporters of women in engineering. A minute silence was observed for them.
Dr Felicia Agubata presented her consent note as the ShEngineer Invent it, Build it grant Awardee from Royal Academy of Engineering, UK under the GCFR African catalyst Phase 3; she said it came to being after success of the “Invent-It, Build-It” program which was sponsored by NNPC under the leadership of former GMD, Late Engr. Maikanti Baru.
She said that engineering being a male dominated field, compels the need encourage more women to go into the field of engineering as it will help advance positively, the society at large. She expressed concern at the low rate of females enrolling to study engineering, and the need to dismantle the stereotypes attached to women entering the field.
She also said that the ShEngineer Invent it, Build it is a capacity building programme for female engineers to enable them train 200 STEM teachers across the six geopolitical zones and mentor 500 pupils in JSS 1 and 2 in public secondary schools in Nigeria with the University of West Scotland as UK Partner.
During the panel discussions, participants took time to make cases on the paths toward driving Women in Engineering to Shape the world while also encouraging more women to embrace the profession.
The president NSE, Engr, Babagana Mohammed calls for collaborations with the women Association and expressed his satisfaction with APWEN’s activities and progress.
Engr. Idiat Amusu, a former President of APWEN, addressed the biases towards women in the industry and also pointed out that there has been no female president at Nigerian Society of Engineers, she calls for an urgent change.
Dr Evi Viza, of University of West Scotland, said there is the need to change the narrative. And this is everyone’s responsibility, especially so the younger generation can be motivated to go into the field.
She said many are guilty of gender bias and it is obvious in daily tools used by us because they were created having the male gender in mind.
Engr. Patricia Opene-Odili encouraged women to be on top of their game at every time so they will excel and be recognized.
Engr Robinson Ejilah believes every organization has a role to play in the advocacy, and more models are needed to encourage the young girls.
Barr. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha commended APWEN for encouraging and gifting young girls’ scholarships, she also called for the men to put a stop to intimidating women in the workplace and help create an enabling environment.
The Diversity and Inclusion Ambassador awards were presented by Engr. Kori Shettima. The awardees included Engr Babagana Mohammed, Engr. Ali Rabiu, Engr. Mustapha Balarabe Shehu and Engr Robinson Ejilah . The honor code certificates of recognition were given to the panelists for their participation in the maiden edition of the International women in engineering day.
The engineering pillar awards were presented for their role in shaping engineering; the recipients included Engr. Nkechiyere Isigwe, late Engr. Fatima Ta Allah Yelwa, Engr. Olayinka Abdul, Engr. Felicia Agubata, Engr. Hauwa Sadique, Engr. Yetunde Holloway,Engr. Kori Shettima and Engr. Onachukwu Okoli.
Engineering Pillars Awards were presented to some illustrious engineers who have contributed to the profession.
Earlier in the day, various Chapters of APWEN across the country engaged in one activities campaigns to sensitize the public on the INWED and its significance.
Awka Chapter, observing the social distancing and all COVID-19 protocols, organised awareness Walk to sensitize the public of the Day.
At Abeokuta Chapter, members led by Engr Olanike Ogunbona also participated at the event before converging at the Secretariat and later join the National body at online E-Conference.
In Lagos, the Chairman, Engr. Funmi Mary Afolayan also led the Chapter on awareness Walk
At APWEN calabar Chapter, Engr Adebisi Osim led her team to Sparkling 923FM as part of the awareness campaign.The National leadership President Funlola Oyelade was also on hand at Press Conference to create awareness while aso participaning in the awareness Walk.
The Association also used the opportunity to create awareness on COVID-19 safety protocls by acting through examples while also displaying banners to achieve same.
Reports Compiled by Mariam Haruna, Isqil Najim