The Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Ghana (WiSTEMGh) has officially been launched at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). The launch brought together women in STEM from all over the country under one umbrella to deliberate on the role WISTEM plays and to chart a path for mentoring young female scientists.
WiSTEMGh seeks to inspire the younger generation to take up STEM careers. It is expected that the launch will set the roadmap to increase female enrollment in science and technology subjects, facilitate scientific and technological and leadership capabilities of women, provide a framework for intra and inter institutional collaboration and promote a science and technology culture in the society.
The launch of WiSTEMGh saw female scientists across the country sharing their experiences in order to inspire young girls drawn from first and second cycle schools to take up education as well as careers in the STEM.
The Pro Vice-Chancellor of KNUST, Professor Mrs. Rita Akosua Dickson, speaking at the launch, said the Vice-Chancellor introduced the initiative to champion the STEM for girls agenda on taking up the leadership of the University. She continued that as the leading Science and Technology University in the country, the underrepresentation of women in STEM education is a worrying phenomenon.
According to the Pro Vice-Chancellor, KNUST continuously strive to improve STEM education as part of its corporate responsibility and in tandem with its mandate. She noted that education in STEM is regarded as critical to the socio-economic development of the country in conjunction with the social sciences.
Professor Mrs. Dickson indicated that the University would therefore continue to remain keen and excited about our students particularly, females in STEM education and careers. She stated that STEM education remains paramount and the University would continue to provide a conducive teaching and learning environment for all students including males for excellence.
The Head of Vodafone Wholesale Business and Business Solutions, Ms. Angela Mensah-Poku, spoke on the “Role of Technology in Closing the Gender Gap and the Importance of Mentoring to Motivate Young Women to Pursue STEM”.
She said, it is imperative that young girls are exposed to female role models in STEM and this is the value of WISTEMGh and that Vodafone is proud to be associated with WISTEMGh on such a laudable cause.
Ms. Mensah-Poku noted that the world has changed and so are the contributions of women to the socio-economic growth and transformation of the continent. She however concerned that things have changed, but, the average woman is mostly sidelined on issues of equal opportunities and competence. She continued that as a country, a larger percentage of our demography are women, however, they are underrepresented in decision making.
She was of the view that more female involvement in STEM is good for the economy, as it will enable women to contribute financially to the growth of the country. “Increasing female participation in STEM will be good for economic stability” she added.
She observed that diversity brings richness and uniqueness to their lives as females in STEM and encouraged the female students to look up to the STEM Women gathered to be motivated to aspire to be like them in future.
The Keynote Speaker Honourable Patricia Appiagyei, Deputy Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, noted that Ghana’s under development is as a result of the technology gap in all aspects needed for sustainable development. According to her, it has been created by our inability to transform the technological knowledge into industrialised technological ideas and output.
She therefore called on policymakers and academia to help bridge this gap to attain the highest level of technological sophistication. This, she said will also help Ghana in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s).