Stakeholders have stressed the need to educate more girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) to increase access to digital banking.
They said stereotypes had been used to hinder women from attaining senior management roles in engineering companies.
At the 2023 International Conference, Exhibition and 40th anniversary of Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN) in Abuja, the UN Deputy Secretary-General, Ms Amina Mohammed stated that involving women in the STEM sector would create job opportunities and increase socio-economic activities in the country.
The theme of the conference is “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Engineering: Embracing Vision, Amplifying Voices and Shaping the Future.”
“STEM education is key in achieving women’s economic rights by spreading digital banking, even to rural areas and creating new income and job opportunities to overcome the gender divide.
“We must harness the potential of our women and girls to pursue studies in STEM education to transform our societies and achieve sustainable development.
“Powerful stereotypes have long hindered women’s career in science and engineering, and today, 22 per cent of STEM graduates are female and this must change,” Mohammed said.
“I would like to call on the government and the private sector in the STEM areas to help narrow the gender digital divide and eliminate gender bias in leadership roles,” Mohammed said.
Earlier, the APWEN president, Dr Elizabeth Eterigho, said female engineers were catalysts for progress and agents of empowerment.
Eterigho said with engineering, it was pertinent to allow women contribute to the sector where every female engineer could achieve her aspirations without fear of discrimination or bias.
“As we are gathered here today, we are not just attendees at a conference, we are torchbearers of a legacy that stretches back generations and propels us forward into a brighter future,” she said.
Also, the president, Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Mr Tasiu Gidari-Wudil, said the association had come of age, adding that it had achieved a great feat at 40.
Gidari-Wudil described APWEN as a strong pillar to NSE in the practice of engineering in the country.