US consul-general urges Nigeria to develop next generation of STEM women

John Bray
John Bray

THE United States consul-general in Lagos has urged women and girls to demonstrate their determination and drive to succeed in any career path they choose. John Bray, the US consul-general, challenged them to learn more about successful women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, STEM fields, and draw inspiration from them.

Speaking at an event organised to commemorate the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, in Lagos, Bray said the US has invested millions of dollars to advance gender equality across sub-Saharan Africa. He said the US government did this, through activities that promote political and economic opportunities for women, access to health and education services, and prevent or respond to gender-based violence.

According to him, a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation report stated that only around 30 percent of all female students around the world select STEM-related fields in higher education. “Nevertheless, I know the women and girls with us today, especially the young girls, are interested in STEM.

“That is fantastic!  For that, I congratulate you!  I applaud your interest in these fields. Why? The reason is simple: today, achievement in STEM-related fields is a key building block for any country’s economic success.  With that in mind, friends and allies of Nigeria must encourage and assist Nigeria to succeed in this area.

“The world is rapidly changing, thanks to technology and innovations that were unimaginable not that long ago.  I think you have heard of many of them: driverless vehicles, drones, lasers, artificial intelligence, robotics, and nanotechnology.  If you haven’t heard of them, I recommend that you start reading about them. Mastering technologies such as these will be key to many of the job opportunities of the future.

“A future that may seem fantastic right now but shortly, all of the things that I just mentioned will become commonplace. For comparison, think of how fantastic a car must have seemed when most people were riding horses for transportation.  Think of how incredible a laptop computer would seem in an era when computers were so large they took up entire rooms.  Don’t laugh at the people of that era!

“Think of what your children or your grandchildren are going to say to you when you describe the old days when people actually had to drive a car. They’ll probably look at you, and say, you are soooo old.  You think that’s funny?  Hey, the parents in the room certainly understand, it happens to all of us,” he said.

Bray said the US government is convinced that when barriers to the participation of women and girls in the STEM fields are removed, women do better, families do better, countries do better, and the world does better. He said whether at home or abroad, promoting women in the STEM fields is a priority of the US government.

– Feb. 11, 2019 @ 17:29 GMT |

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