The Association of Professional Women Engineers in Nigeria (APWEN) has been challenged to undertake programmes that groom girls in Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) careers and improve women participation in economic development.
The Deputy National Chairman, Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineering, Dr. Funmilade Akingbagbohun, who gave the charge during a technical session organised by APWEN, Lagos chapter, observed that emerging engineering opportunities for national development abound in over 25 major branches of engineering.
Akingbagbohun, who spoke on ‘Role of Female Engineers in National Economic Development,’ said women in engineering must be interdisciplinary, learn to network with other professionals and get familiar with how everyone around them operate.
She lamented that Nigeria still overlooks its engineers when it comes to development, policy formation and implementation, adding that engineers must press for local content enforcement in all economic matters.
According to her, women engineers play multiple functions in society. Aside being professional engineers, they also play role of homemakers and community influencers, STEM educators, employees, employers and community leaders as well as served as significant force in politics and public services.
Akingbagbohun, who is also the immediate past chairman, Ikeja branch of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), noted that being a woman in engineering is more challenging as a result of the multiple roles women play in the society.
APWEN Chairman, Lagos branch, Mary Afolayan said engineering bridges gap between society and scientific knowledge, stressed that the forum became necessary to sensitise members and women in general on their role in socio-economic development.
She said part of APWEN’s vision and mission was to serve as catalyst for advancement of women in engineering profession, adding that this is targeted at national and global technological development.
Afolayan said: “We have been creating awareness that engineering is for the female, thereby increasing numerical strength of female engineers. We are also encouraging women to achieve professional excellence.”