International Women’s Day: Scientists urge women, girls to believe in their capabilities

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In commemoration of the International Women’s Day (IWD), some female scientists have urged women and girls to believe in their capabilities, pursue their dreams and ensure the opportunities they deserved come by merit.

The scientists made the call on Friday in Abuja in separate interviews with Newsmen.

IWD is celebrated annually on March 8 as movement for women’s rights, after the Socialist Party of America organised a Women’s Day on Feb.

28, 1909 in New York and in 1910, the International Socialist Woman’s Conference suggested an annual Women’s Day.

Meanwhile, the 2019 International Women’s Day has “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change” as its
theme.

The theme focuses on innovative ways to advance gender equality and the empowerment of women, social protection systems,
access to public services and sustainable infrastructure.

Dr Rakiya Babamaaji, the Head, Natural Resources Management Division, National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA)
said women should believe that they could venture into Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) careers.

She said “those courses are not reserved for men. Women and girls should believe that with hard work, they can break any
barrier. Girls should have that confidence.

“Women should always be ready to mentor younger women, guide them and give back to the girls in secondary schools, in the university and be an inspirational story
to them.”

Babamaaji urged government at all levels to sponsor more science programmes and give more grants and equal opportunities to women.

According to her, the best should always win irrespective of sex.

“Government should do more awareness creation in the development of science and technology for women, equip science labs in schools with up-to-date facilities.

“Government also needs to encourage more exhibitions, excursion because you catch them as they are young.”

Mrs Olayinka Fagbemiro, the National Coordinator, Astronomers Without Borders (AWB) complained about “discrimination against
women especially in sub-Saharan Africa.”

She said that some parents believed that the girl-child would end in the kitchen, hence no need waste resources training her.

She added that women should invest in themselves and attain their desired goals in spite of hurdles in the society.

“I encourage women globally to pursue their dream; do not let your dream die by virtue of gender.

“Women should be ambitious, no one should limit you, the society should not limit you, put in much effort so you gain opportunities by merit.

“Women should nurture themselves healthwise because there are peculiar health issues with women.

“If you are in the right frame of mind, mentally stable, physically stable, you can pursue your dreams,” Fagbemiro advised.

Mrs Nwanneka Ibekwe, the President, Women In Aerospace Nigeria (WIAN) also compelled women to get involved in science and technology development.

She said “women, girls have all it takes, they should believe in themselves and get involved.”

She, therefore, urged government to deliberately encourage girls and women to study STEM, stressing that “education is the bedrock of every achievement.
There will not be development without knowledge, so, efforts should be made to educate girls for overall development of societies.”

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