By J. K. Nabary
Winneba (C/R), Oct 07, GNA – Professor Deborah Olufunmilaya Makinde of the Department of Mathematics, Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria, has expressed the need for governments, to make learning and teaching of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), attractive by providing critical funding for infrastructure.
Professor Makinde made the call in an address she delivered at a workshop for Females in STEM on the topic “Bridging the Gender in STEM” at Winneba.
The workshop on the theme: “Evidence Based Approach to Bringing the Gender Gap in STEM,” was organised by STEM Research Working Group of University of Education and supported by the Committee for Women in Mathematics- International and the Mathematical Union.
Its focus was to create a strong mentorship, linkage, networking model to support girls in mathematics, create a forum to rethink challenges prompting gender gap in scientific and academic communities and to obtain baseline data to enable them conduct joint research across West Africa on innovative ways to ensure gender parity in STEM.
According to her, gender gap was the difference between women and men as reflected in political, intellectual, cultural, economic attainment or attitudes as well as gap in their level of participation, access, right, remuneration and benefits.
Equity she explained, was about all genders having equal rights and opportunities irrespective of sex, gender, race, difference, and choice.
Prof. Makinde said, the positive effect of regular and constant fully funded workshops; training and conferences for teachers of STEM on research; methods of teaching and the attitude towards teaching was important.
She therefore recommended that governments and non-governmental organizations rose to this duty by initiating reasonable financial incentives or scholarship for high score in STEM examinations.
There should also be immediate employment for STEM graduates to arouse the interest of many students towards the learning and studying of STEM.
Looking into the great achievement of some women in Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education, she said there was great and prominent future for female gender as they contributed to technological and economic balance for themselves and their nations.
She therefore stressed the need for strong committed spirit and attitude, honest conversation about stereotype threats and the creation of an inclusive environment to expose students to a range of perspectives and teaching materials as well as to foster growth mindset in the classroom to help address key factors perpetuating gender STEM Gaps.
Dr. Gloria Armah of the Department of Mathematics of UEW, in a presentation on the topic: “Challenges faced by females in pursuing mathematics related courses, stated that for nations to develop its citizens scientifically and technologically, the entire population, including girls and women must actively be involved.
According to her, the diversity in an organization, including gender diversity was known to be associated with improved productivity, creativity and organizational sales and profits, saying this highlighted the need to increase women’s representation in mathematics and as such with STEM fields.
“There are challenges to deal with and as such let us not give up as females in the STEM fields but be confident in ourselves and be motivated by the few other females already in the field and those aspiring to be there.
“We cannot afford to fail this and the unborn generation, with regard it is about time we rise, forge on and together we will do great things,” she added.
Dr. Peter Akayuure, Senior lecturer, and Ms. Dorcas Attuabea Addo, Assista Lecturer, both STEM research working group and of the UEW Mathematics Department, in a joint presentation informed the gathering that the group was formed in 2020 to promote indigenous and contextualize teaching and learning of science and mathematics and STEM education through action research professional development workshops and instructional material development.
It is also focused on promoting STEM in Ghana through research, advocacy, innovative teacher training and global networking mentorship programmes.