In a bid to champion gender equality and foster an environment of inclusivity, the Civil Society Action Coalition on Education For All (CSACEFA) has called for greater participation of girls in STEM-related subjects.
This resonating call to action was echoed during the 2023 celebration of the International Day of the Girl Child organized by CSACEFA Lagos and held at the Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board (LASUBEB).
The group emphasized the vital need for society to invest in the education, health, and overall well-being of girls as a means of unlocking their potential in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).
Stella Olubunmi Francis, the State Coordinator of CSACEFA, underscored the significance of investing in the holistic development of the girl child.
She firmly stated, “As we gather here, let us remember that investing in the education, health, and well-being of girls is not merely a moral imperative, but it also represents a wise and forward-thinking investment in our collective future.”
Also speaking at the event, Aderonke Kimemenihia-Eseka, the immediate past Coordinator of the association, highlighted that part of the aim of the event is to encourage the girl child to take on STEM-related courses and careers and to also be digitally literate.
She encourages parents to allow their girl child access to technology and also monitor what they do online instead of restricting them from having access to technology and the internet.
Margaret Nkire, the Public Relations Officer of the association, acknowledged that the event served as a pivotal opportunity to ignite the curiosity and ambition of young girls when it comes to STEM-related careers. “The CSACEFA event for the girl child is a platform where we focus on girls in schools with the overarching intention of nurturing and fueling their enthusiasm for studying STEM disciplines. It’s about empowering them to envision and pursue potential careers in engineering and other STEM-related fields,” she explained.
Nkire also issued a compelling call to action, urging the government to redouble its efforts in the vital task of mainstreaming women and girls in the domains of science and technology. She issued a warning that, without such efforts, the nation would be ill-prepared to compete on the global stage if women and girls continued to be underrepresented in STEM fields.
Tolu Owokade, the visionary Director of Operations at Shift Power Solutions, emphasized a critical point regarding the timing of STEM education for girls. Owokade argued that it is essential for girls to commence their studies in STEM-related subjects from a young age to cultivate their interest and aptitude. She called for the creation of a system that not only introduces girls to STEM courses early in their academic journey but also nurtures and supports their growth in these areas.
The CSACEFA’s advocacy for girls in STEM goes beyond rhetoric and ceremonial celebrations. It is a clarion call to take concrete steps towards achieving true gender equality and inclusivity in fields where women have historically been underrepresented. It underscores the notion that a nation’s progress and competitiveness are intimately tied to how well it harnesses the potential of all its citizens, regardless of gender. As this movement gains momentum, it paves the way for a brighter, more equitable future where girls and women can contribute their full potential to the world of STEM.