APWEN unveils new scheme to improve inclusion, diversity in engineering
Female engineers plan to introduce the ‘SheEngineer 30% Club’ to drive productivity and reduce skill shortage in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) based careers.
The Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria, (APWEN) said when the scheme becomes operational, it would aid employers to retain, promote and support talented women, create positive workplaces.
It will also enhance training in equality and diversity issues and implementation of gender inclusion policies, as well as build up an engineering talent pipeline with the necessary skills to respond to local challenges.
The Programme Manager, SheEngineer 30% Club, Mrs. Felicia Agubata, said this during a stakeholder engagement on the scheme in Lagos. ‘SheEngineer 30% Club’ is a Royal Academy of Engineering United Kingdom sponsored programme developed to build a voluntary network of professional engineering institutions, businesses and organisations in the aviation, automotive and energy sectors.
Agubata said the initiative is designed to achieve a 30 per cent minimum gender balance within their workforce by 2030 using a 30 by 30 strategy (a commitment to allocate 30 per cent positions to women in organisations yearly).
She said: “ The problems we are addressing are women under representation in the engineering sector and education, skill shortage exacerbated by underrepresentation. Gender inequalities in engineering education and practice, challenges of discrimination, harassments, and victimisation of female engineers and gender barriers in accessing engineering as a career for women,” she said.
Agubata disclosed that the association plans to achieve its target through data gathering of aerospace, automotive and energy sectors organisations in Lagos, partnering with employers, policymakers and educators to create an inclusive learning environment, getting engineering companies to develop a diversity and inclusion policy and create SheEngineer30 Club that will be launched to get companies commitment to have at least 30 per cent female on board.
Others are one Week Work Shadowing in aerospace/aviation/energy industries for students in secondary school, career clinics through capacity development of practicing female engineers, women engineers returning to work through training on leadership, personal branding, developing job strategy and building skill for effective communication/management.
The President, Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN), Dr. Elizabeth Eterigho, said with women making up about 50 per cent of the world’s population and contributing significantly to global gross domestic product, their participation in leadership roles is crucial to achieving sustainable development goals.
Eterigho, lamented that some standard policies don’t take into account the fact that women and men have different needs and these policies can contribute to the continued marginalisation of women in male-dominated industries.
The Keynote speaker, Dr. Daniel Young, commended APWEN for being a pride to the nation’s economy through its contributions to the development of girl-child and women in engineering.
Young, who is the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Turtle Aviation, charged women to be determined, design programmes that will make women not to be relegated, aspire to the peak of their career and encourage children to develop interest in STEM fields.