Mr. Uche Nnaji, Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology, has reiterated that rights of women regarding gender equality are not to be violated, as women deserve equal treatment.
The minister said this at the sensitisation programme on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education in Abuja.
The programme had the theme: Unleashing potentials: Empowering the girl child for a secured STEM future.
Represented by Roland Ukpong, Director, Science, Technology Promotion Department, Nnaji said time had come to develop strategies, plans and policies that supported women, to give them the place they deserved in Nigeria.
“As we plan for Nigeria, the girl child must be highly considered and empowered,” he said.
According to him, women play vital roles in development of the Innovation, Science and Technology sector.
Hence, in recognition of this, the ministry would develop the capacity of women by mainstreaming them in the sector.
He mentioned the areas of mainstream to include human capital development, agriculture, industrial growth, health, environment, energy, among others.
He said that long before now, the role of women in societal development was not recognised due to stereotyping them.
He said this hindered women from helping to proffer solutions to societal challenges.
He stated that the Sustainable Development Goals item 5 aimed to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
“This has helped in the enrollment of more girls in schools and has also encouraged them to attain the apex of their career,” he said.
Nnaji noted that the sensitisation programme was planned to increase participation of the girl child in the STEM field for the improvement of women economic security and to reduce the gender gap.
He underscored that the theme of the programme was critical, as every girl child was talented and needed empowerment in different forms.
The minister said the ministry encouraged promotion of gender balance in Innovation, Science and Technology disciplines and research and development institutions.
James Sule, Permanent Secretary of the ministry, hinted that the success of the maiden STEM programme previously held, encouraged the present elaborated version, now an annual event.
“It is pertinent to note that the participation of women and girls in the field of STEM remains significantly lower than that of men, even in some of the world’s technological advanced nations.
“It is a known fact that in this part of the world, disparity in STEM is alarming, and therefore should be discouraged if Nigeria really aspires for socioeconomic emancipation,” Sule said.
He disclosed that as part of efforts to popularise science education, the ministry was desirous of making equity – deserving groups more visible, to promote careers in STEM.
The Permanent Secretary was represented by Mrs Aisha Bello, his personal assistant.
Mrs Nkechi Nwachukwu, Director, Technology Acquisition and Promotion, who was represented by Mr. Olobashola Kolawole, Director, FCT Department of Innovation, Science and Technology, said potentials must not die untapped.(NAN)