The Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, says the perspective, creativity and pragmatism that women bring to bear in science cannot be ignored by any country interested in developing rapidly.
Ogundipe said this at a virtual/physical grand finale essay competition put together by the Lagos branch of the Organisation for Women in Science for Developing World in Lagos on Thursday.
He was represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Development Services, Prof. Folashade Ogunsola.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the organisation was formerly known as the Third World Organisation for Women in Science.
It is an international organisation that aims to provide research training, career development and networking opportunities for women scientists, throughout the developing world at different stages in their career.
The title of the essay competition was: “Investment in Women and Girls in Science for Inclusive Green Growth; A Necessity for Nigeria’’?
The competition was meant to celebrate the International Day of Women and Girls in Science on Feb. 11 but lingered due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
According to the vice chancellor, any country that also wants to take its significant place amongst the committee of nations in the 21st century must equally recognise such creativity that women bring to bear in science.
He noted that the topic of the competition was apt, especially in a country gradually recognising that one could fly with one of the two wings.
”Presently, women represent 32 per cent of employees in the renewable energy sector. There is, therefore, the need to have more women drive the science and leading the conversion to green energy.
”For the 10 students shortlisted for this competition, I hope this will be the beginning of your journey into the sector,” Ogundipe said.
The President of the Lagos branch of the organisation, Prof. Joy Okpuzor, urged young girls in the science space to continually strive to soar.
Okpuzor said the young girls were lucky to grow up in the digital age, where almost everything was possible at the press of a button.
She noted that every year, the international community celebrated various events.
She explained that this particular event which was in celebration of the International Day for Women and Girls in Science, was to inspire more of them to venture into the science space.
Okpuzor noted that there were lots of hiccups along the journey to this year’s programme, saying that this did not dampen their spirit in their quest to bring out the best in the girls.
“We want to encourage these girls to unleash their world. You heard me said they belonged to the digital age.
“They just do everything thing by pressing a button, unlike in our own time when you will have to do it the hard way.
“They have this enthusiasm. They are trail blazers and are always rearing to go and explore their world.
“Since we have got to that level, we have no choice than to always come up with events that will ginger them up.
“By so doing, it will enable them to bring their creativity to bear, thereby, bring further development into the world we live in,” she said.
Dr Kehinde Kemabonta, the Chairperson of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the event, said a total of 500 essays were received from students drawn from Federal, State and private schools across the state.
“We started by going to all these schools to select two students per school.
“They wrote essays and sent to us and in all, we had up to 500. We visited over 150 schools that participated across Lagos with only one from Ogun.
“After going through all the essays, it was reduced to 300 and from there, we went for the semi-finals where 32 of them were picked and finally came up with these best 10 that are contesting today.
“The winner of the competition will go home with a brand new computer and accessories and the second, a cash prize of N25,000,’’ Kemabonta said.