Dr. Rose Omari, Principal Research Scientist, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research- Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (CSIR-STEPRI), says misleading information and stereotypes about engineering programs careers is discouraging girls from pursuing those courses.
She said stereotypes like engineering made women look unfashionable and was a dirty profession deterred girls from developing interest in the course.
Dr. Omari said this when she presented a research report on girls in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) at a Gender in STEM workshop in Accra.
The workshop organised by the International Development Research Centre, Canada in collaboration with the CSIR-STEPRI brought together stakeholders in STEM education globally, who shared perspectives on the subject.
Dr Omari’s research: “Women in Engineering Education and Careers in Ghana and Benin”, was carried out at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and University of Abomey Calavi in Benin Republic.
She said another reason accounting for the low numbers of girls in engineering was the limited knowledge they had of the various engineering programs and job prospects.
She stated that the poor teaching of STEM subjects at the basic level also accounted for the low numbers of girls developing interest in the area.
Dr Omari urged academic institutions to revise their curriculum to make it more pracital and gender responsive.
She also called for standardised teaching methods of STEM, especially at the basic level of girls’ education.
“We need to also establish mentorship, career guidance and outreach programmes, as well as explore and advance e-learning options,” she added.
Dr Katie Bryant, Programme Officer, Education and Science at IDRC Canada, said globally, there was a challenge with getting accurate data on women in STEM, making it difficult for countries to rollout well-tailored, specific solutions to address the issue.
She was hopeful the event would present a platform for global stakeholders to share acquired data and build partnerships to improve women participation in STEM.
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