The Nigerian Academy of Science is the foremost independent scientific body in Nigeria which was established in 1977 and incorporated in 1986. The Academy as a first step towards empowering Nigerian women scientists, brought together stakeholders at the “Women in Science Summit”, which had a theme “Women in Science and Nigeria’s Development”, to propose strategies for empowering women and girls in science, equipping them to thrive, and making a major impact on Nigeria’s development. The summit was held in Reiz Continental Hotel, Abuja from October 21st to 22nd, 2019.
Dr. Edu Inam, Director, ICEESR was among the three invited speakers from the University of Uyo. Others included Professor Eno Ituen, Immediate past President, Organisation for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD), Nigeria National Chapter and Dr. Uduakobong Okon, Chair, International Network of Women Engineers and Scientists (INWES), Africa Region
The objective of the forum were viz: (1) To create a platform to discuss the role of women in science and sustainable development, with focus on Nigeria; (2) To raise the awareness of relevant stakeholders to the challenges faced by women scientists in Nigeria; (3)To foster mentorship and collaboration among Nigerian women in science and (4) To identify implementable development strategies for women in science in Nigeria.
The summit began with an overview of outstanding women scientists, and their contributions to the advancement of science and technology in Nigeria. Presentations offered insights into Nigeria’s strategic implementation plans for the SDGs, specific ways that women scientists would drive the attainment of the goals, and the link between education, the empowerment of women, and economic development. Gaps in existing social and political frameworks to support women were reviewed, and how to plug those gaps, attract and retain girls and women in STEM fields.
Although women have striven to distinguish themselves academically, men still occupy most of the top leadership positions in research/academia. There is therefore a need to support women to take up such positions by addressing the gender gap at the primary levels of education, mentor young girls and women through tertiary education, and provide opportunities for collaborations to enable them progress up the academic ladder. Finally, discussions and action points were advanced to provide evidence-informed advice to policymakers on the value of women’s involvement and input to national development frameworks.
Dr Inam spoke on the topic engaging girls and young women in STEM where both the Schlumberger Faculty for future Alumnae in Nigeria’s project on National Scientific Equipment Database and her project on building a research laboratory in University of Uyo were presented.
The women agreed that women should pursue science for science, science for society and science for policy making. The world needs science and science needs women.
The Nigerian Academy of Science (NAS) is uniquely positioned to bring scientific knowledge to bear on the policies/strategic direction of the country and is also dedicated to the development and advancement of science, technology, and innovation (STI) in Nigeria. The aims and objectives of the Academy are to promote the growth, acquisition, and dissemination of scientific knowledge, and to facilitate its use in solving problems of national interest. For more information about the academy click here to visit their website