The Cross River Commissioner for Health, Dr Betta Edu, on Tuesday said that the number of women and girls in sciences in the country was still inadequate.
Edu spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the occasion to commemorate ‘The International Day for Women and Girls in Sciences’ in Benin City.
The International Day for Women and Girls in Sciences is commemorated annually on Feb. 11.
It is meant to focus on the reality, that science and gender equality is both vital for the achievement of internationally agreed development goals, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
However, long-standing biases and gender stereotypes are keeping girls and women away from science-related fields.
The theme for the year 2020 commemoration is: “Investing in women and girls for inclusive green growth”.
The commissioner said that the inadequate number of women and girls in sciences in the country was because giving education to the male child was still far more recognised in the nation.
She said that some religions and cultures in the nation were still being used to blindfold the women folk and relegate them to the background.
The commissioner said that this had led to having less number of educated women, especially, in the field of sciences.
“There are cultures that still say a woman cannot go to school, that her place is in the kitchen or the bedroom.
“Some other cultures also encourage the habit of giving out girls in early marriages.
“ You see girls getting married at the age of 10 or 11 without having the opportunity to acquire basic education.’’
She also condemned the notion that women were not supposed to be involved in some science fields because such were the exclusively reserved for men.
“ I don’t know where we got that from because it is very wrong.’’
The commissioner said that women could study and excel in several science courses as the men.
She said that this was because women are more meticulous, innovative and would be more productive when they go into the field of sciences.
“As a medical doctor, people always address me as nurse whenever I go into to the hospital wards.
“They always have the perception that women are supposed to be nurses while men must be doctors.
“For me, today is that day when we should increase the advocacy for more women to be educated and be science inclined,” she said.
Edu also said that the theme of the year’s celebration was apt.
She said that the government of Cross River was embracing it by encouraging women to come out and be part of the ‘green revolution’ going on in the state.
According to the statistics from UNESCO, no less than 30 per cent of researchers worldwide are women.
It also stated that approximately 30 per cent of all female students from STEM-related fields are in higher education.
The data also stated that globally, female students’ enrollment is particularly low with ICT having three per cent.
The Natural Science, Mathematics and Statistics have five percent each while engineering, the manufacturing and the construction areas have eight percent each.