The low representation of women and girls in science-related courses and professions has drawn the attention of Uche Nnaji, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Technology.
He called the current state of affairs in Nigeria concerning, pointing out that gender equality in STEM fields has not yet been achieved in the nation.
On the occasion of this year’s International Day for Women and Girls in Science, which was themed “Women and Girls in Science Leadership — a New Era for Sustainability,” he made some remarks.
In his broadcast message, which was published on his X official account on Sunday, Nnaji noted the advancements that had been made but also emphasized the ongoing difficulty in attaining true gender equality, since women are frequently left out of important STEM fields.
Declaring his dedication to creating a welcoming atmosphere, he reassured young girls who wanted to study science that their interest, intelligence, and curiosity mattered.
He pointed out that those young scientists weren’t just the scientists of the future; they were already making significant advances in the field.
“Despite significant advancements, gender equality in STEM is still an elusive goal as women are typically marginalized on important STEM issues,” the speaker stated.
As Nnaji noted, “every voice, regardless of gender, is heard and valued when we harness the transformative power of science and technology.”
He gave girls hope for a career in science confidence by telling them that their intelligence, passion, and curiosity mattered and that they were “not just scientists of tomorrow, but the scientists of today.”
He encouraged women who were already making strides in science to understand how important it is to support others as they advance.
“Let us challenge stereotypes, break down barriers, and create pathways for everyone to succeed,” he admonished.
The Financial Institutions Training Center and the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics estimate that women make up about 22% of the country’s STEM graduates.
Just 35% of STEM students in higher education worldwide are women, according to UNESCO’s report “Cracking the Code: Girls’ and Women’s Education in STEM.”
UNESCO has observed a significant gender disparity in women’s participation in STEM fields around the world, with sub-Saharan Africa being the most affected.