Last December, the United Nations Member States adopted a resolution to establish an annual International Day to recognize the critical role women and girls play in science and technology communities. Today, the eleventh of February, is that day. The world has come to a realization that women play a very significant role in different crucial areas of our society, without which there would be a natural imbalance and societal disunity. Days like these are reminders to all women across the globe that so little has been done to not only project the image of the woman, especially the African woman, but also much more needs to be done in preparation of a gender-friendly environment for the future girl child.
It is worthy of note that I not only limit occasions like this to focus on a select group of women or girls (in science, as today’s), but on every woman alive in the world today. Sadly, there are many women today who still believe that certain positions and attainments are reserved for the male folk. That is wrong thinking. The girl child in our society must be trained to think independently, have great ambitions and know that accomplishments aren’t gender sensitive.
Among our young ones today, I have observed a significant numerical difference between the science and art or commercial disciplines. More men seem to take up the science part of study, while more women seem to settle with the art or commercial courses. The common excuse given is that science is tougher and requires more physical effort than arts. This is disturbing, and indicative of the little information these young ones are armed with when choosing their lines of study.
I am a woman and a Deputy Governor. I towed the science line and became a medical doctor. I have functioned in many parastatals and capacities without doubting my competence, for a moment. There are more successful women than I can mention right here and now. Absolutely, women can succeed in any legal endeavor they choose to pursue just as easily as men. What is unfair at the moment is how we have more women in the society but more successful men, statistically. The difference is not gender, it is one’s willingness to dream and dare. Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a renowned economist, who rose to the position of the Deputy Vice President in the World Bank; late Prof. Dora Akunyili, an accomplished Director in NAFDAC; Chimmamnda Adichie, a prolific writer; are few popular women making impact in our society.
Let me encourage every young person in our society to dare to dream. You’ll be amazed what lies within your reach. Our young girls have more than they know. Whether art, science or business, my word for you today is ‘dream’. I’m convinced you can achieve.
The New Rivers State has a team of prolific writers who will be introduced with time.