Raymond Ozoji, Awka
The Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN) has emphasized the need for more women to venture into the engineering profession in order to correct the age-long perception that engineering is male-dominated.
Speaking shortly after an induction ceremony of collegiate members of Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka at Parktonia hotel, the pioneer chairman of the Awka branch of APWEN, Engr. Oluchi Okoli, stated that the organization was at the forefront of championing the cause of the female gender as well as encourage them to undertake careers in the engineering profession.
She said APWEN was a division of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) established in 1983 with objectives to foster the sorority of female engineers, help the girl-child undertake careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, among numerous other objectives of the association.
Okoli further noted that APWEN had sponsored over 3000 girl-children from 2018 till date through primary, secondary and tertiary education respectively, adding that the association achieved the objective using the role model approach where it admonished the females to emulate successful engineers from their localities and aspire to greater heights.
She also pointed out that seminars and workshops were veritable platforms the association exploited to educate youngsters on the need to have a career in engineering stressing that the overall mandate of APWEN was to create the awareness that women could practice engineering more successfully than their male counterparts across the country.
According to her, the association has taken its advocacy to Government Technical College Awka, Frankstar Nursery and Primary School Amawbia and a few other schools in Anambra where it inculcated in the female students the need to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics as well as expose them to their rights as human persons even though she noted that the female gender was most susceptible to sexual assaults, early marriages and other forms of dehumanization.
She was also of the opinion that despite the protective role the association played on behalf of its members, it goes further to help young female engineers secure job placements as well as assist them in sourcing places for industrial training programmes and shield them from lecturers’ harassment.
The Awka branch chairman of APWEN who told our correspondent that the association equally celebrated the 2019 International Day of the Girl-Child, said APWEN took its campaign on the rights of the girl-child to some primary schools across Anambra state where it encouraged the females to place more emphasis on mathematics as it was the gateway to other spheres of human endeavours including engineering.
She however decried the dearth of female engineers in the country, saying that “in a class of about 50 engineering students, we have like only five to 10 that are females. And so many females are scared of taking up that career part because they have this erroneous belief that engineering is a man’s world.”
Okoli said her expectations were that more women would be conscripted into the engineering family and that government and other public-spirited individuals would see the need to give scholarships to female students who are science-inclined to enable them to undertake careers in the engineering profession as they progress in their educational pursuits.