In commemoration of the International Women’s Day, some female scientists have urged women and girls to believe in their capabilities, and pursue their dreams.
The scientists made the call on Friday in Abuja in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria.
IWD is celebrated annually on March 8 after the Socialist Party of America organised a Women’s Day on February 28, 1909 in New York and in 1910, the International Socialist Woman’s Conference suggested an annual Women’s Day.
Meanwhile, the 2019 International Women’s Day has “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change” as its theme.
The theme focuses on innovative ways to advance gender equality and the empowerment of women, social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure.
Dr Rakiya Babamaaji, the Head, Natural Resources Management Division, National Space Research and Development Agency said women should believe that they could venture into Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics careers.
She said, “Those courses are not reserved for men. Women and girls should believe that with hard work, they can break any barrier. Girls should have that confidence.
“Women should always be ready to mentor younger women, guide them and give back to the girls in secondary schools, in the university and be an inspirational story to them.”
Babamaaji urged government at all levels to sponsor more science programmes and give more grants and equal opportunities to women.
According to her, the best should always win irrespective of sex.
Mrs Olayinka Fagbemiro, the National Coordinator, Astronomers Without Borders complained about “discrimination against women especially in sub-Saharan Africa.”
She said that some parents believed that the girl-child would end in the kitchen, hence feel no need to train her.
She added that women should invest in themselves and attain their desired goals in spite of hurdles, the society places in their paths.
“I encourage women globally to pursue their dream; do not let your dream die by virtue of gender.
“Women should be ambitious, no one should limit you, the society should not limit you, put in much effort so you gain opportunities by merit.
“Women should nurture themselves healthwise because there are peculiar health issues with women.
“If you are in the right frame of mind, mentally stable, physically stable, you can pursue your dreams, ”Fagbemiro advised.
Mrs Nwanneka Ibekwe, the President, Women In Aerospace Nigeria also compelled women to get involved in science and technology development.
She said, “Women, girls have all it takes, they should believe in themselves and get involved.”
She, therefore, urged the government to deliberately encourage girls and women to study STEM, stressing that “education is the bedrock of every achievement.
There will be no development without knowledge, so, efforts should be made to educate girls for the overall development of societies.”