The Paramount Queen Mother of Essikado in the Sekondi-Takoradi Area, Nana Ekua Kodu II, has urged citizens to end the discriminatory stereotypes that prevent women and girls from having equal access to education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
According to her, as a trained nurse and midwife herself, she knew that these stereotypes are flatly wrong as they deny women and girls the chance to realise their potential and deprive the world of the ingenuity and innovation of half of the population.
Nana Ekua Kodu II made these remarks when she delivered her speech as the Special Guest of Honour at the 13th Women in Engineering (WinE) Forum, as part of the Annual Conference & 53rd AGM of the Ghana Institution of Engineering (GhIE), held at the Best Western Plus Atlantic Hotel in Takoradi.
Speaking on the theme: “Encouraging the Girl Child to pursue Engineering, key to National Development”, the Essikado Queen mother urged the participants and the government to commit to end bias, greater investments in STEM education for all women and girls as well as opportunities for their career and higher-term professional advancement, so that all can benefit from their ground-breaking future contributions.
On what to do to encourage more women and girls into STEM, Nana Ekua Kodu II said, recognition and awards from the start energises the female STEM flocks; training and development of skills in incubators, research and data labs and rebooting through the life and career cycles; Provision of incentives and scholarships; mentorship; significant investment to recruit, retain and promote STEM as well as school teachers and administrators to encourage the young girls to aspire to go into engineering field.
The President of Women in Engineering, Ing. Dr. Enyonam Kpekpena, in her welcome address said, the purpose of the 13th WinE Forum was to engage and encourage a section of over 200 female students at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels in the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Area (STMA) to pursue and continue to pursue engineering related subjects and courses at the basic, secondary and tertiary levels in Ghana.
She added that the students were privileged to have very well experienced female Engineering Practitioners who would take turns to speak on topics relating to educating the girl child in engineering and the impact of engineering on national development.
She revealed that the ultimate aim was to empower females who are involved in the study and practice of engineering to break barriers and climb higher in their academic and professional pursuits as they contribute to solving societal problems.
She explained that Women in Engineering (WinE) group is the female wing of the Ghana Institution of Engineering. The group was formed over two decades ago, through the vision and support of the 30th President of the GhIE, Ing. Prof. K.A. Andam in 1999.
Next year, the group will be celebrating its 25th Anniversary, a great milestone since its establishment.
Over 200 Engineering students were drawn from over 14 Basic/Secondary/Tertiary schools in the Western region to participate in the forum.
Some of the basic schools included West Ridge Basic School-Essikado; Bathany Basic School-Essikado; Centre of Excellence Basic School-Adiembra; Kweikuma STMA-Kweikuma; St. Mathias Catholic Basic School-New Takoradi; Poasi Methodist Basic School-New Takoradi; Adakokpe Basic School-Takoradi; and Rev. Akpeki Basic School-Takoradi.
Others from Secondary/Technical Schools included: Ahantaman Girls SHS-Sekondi; Bompeh Senior High Technical-Takoradi and Takoradi Technical Institute – Takoradi.
The rest from Universities were: University of Mines and Technology – Tarkwa; School of Railways and Infrastructure Development (UMaT) – Sekondi and Takoradi Technical University- Takoradi.
Speakers took the students through various topics related to the theme for the 13th WinE Forum 2023. On ‘Mentorship and its impact on the girl child’, the Speaker, Ing. Alberta Amankwah highlighted various areas and advantages that mentorship provides to the girl child to pursue engineering career.
Ing. Sophia Tijani, the current Vice-President of GhIE, spoke on the impact of generating interest in younger girls for STEM courses and engineering. Ing. Dr. Lucy Agyepong gave a presentation on the gender gap in engineering education, Academic City University experience, whilst, Ing. Dr. Celestina Allotey spoke on Excelling as a female engineer in industry.
In attendance to support the WinE Forum included the new President of GhIE, Ing. Kwabena Bempong; the outgone President of GhIE, Ing. Rev. Prof. Charles Anum Adams; the Executive Director of GhIE, Ing. David Nyante; Council members of GhIE and other local and international delegates of the conference.
WinE gave the over 200 girls branded school bags, books and pens. Wine also demonstrated and donated 100 science sets for the training and encouragement of girls to pursue STEM courses.