OWSD Umudike Explores Career Success Pathways For Women

OWSD Umudike Explores Career Success Pathways For Women

The Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) has been described as an international organization that provides research training, career development and networking opportunities for women and girls in the developing countries.

The Coordinator, OWSD Umudike branch, Prof. Mabel Ifeoma Onwuka who disclosed this recently during a seminar/quarterly general meeting of OWSD Umudike Branch, held in National Roots Crops Research Institute (NRCRI) Umudike, Abia State, stated that women can make indelible marks in their chosen field of science and still manage their homes effectively.

The Professor of Soil science who urged women to show resilience and steadfastness in their chosen career, revealed that women make up only 34 per cent of the workforce in Science, Technology and Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), while men vastly out-number women in the study of science.

Prof. Onwuka who expressed worries over the situation, noted that though the number of women in science has improved but the progress has been slow, adding that women in science still face various degrees of discrimination.

Onwuka who maintained that the body will use everything at their disposal to assist women achieve greatness in all spheres of their lives, promised to continuously collaborate with relevant bodies and government agencies towards addressing the inequalities impeding women and girls in the study of science.

In her keynote lecture, the Director, Peri-urban Agricultural System, National Root and Crops Research (NRCRI), Umudike, Dr. Helen Nkoli Anyagbunam regretted the exclusion of women and girls in the study of science, due to gender biases.

She lamented that women and girls lacked unequal access to education, technologies and leadership positions, stating that these and more have steered countless bright female minds away from STEM careers and stalled their progress.

Dr. Anyaegbunam also revealed that despite the setbacks, creative and tenacious women and girls are pushing the boundaries of scientific knowledge to seek solutions to everyday global challenges.

She identified challenges faced by women scientists to include: access to education, discrimination and lack of opportunities, lack of representation in different fields, lack of leadership roles, gender bias, work-life balance, lack of mentorship, among others.

She enjoined women and girls in science to seek support networks, advocate for equality and inclusivity; develop assertiveness and negotiation skills; prioritize self-care; foster mentorship relationships, promote work-life integration among others as strategies for overcoming obstacles and building resilience.

Anyaegbunam further disclosed that women scientists could achieve more through collaborative efforts, creativity, confidence, perseverance, self-advocacy, urging them to explore mentorship and networking to advance their chosen career.

Dr. Anyaegbunam who commended OWSD Umudike Branch for their intensified efforts towards the fight against the inequalities meted on women and girls in the study of sciences, maintained that despite historical and contemporary challenges, women scientists have continually defiled odds, shattered stereotypes and made remarkable strides in their chosen professions.

Contributing, Prof. Irene Ifeoma Ijeh, implored women to persevere in the face of difficulties in their chosen career, encouraging them not to allow disappointments to weigh them down.

In her vote of thanks, the National Coordinator/Chairperson, OWSD Nigeria, Prof. Olayinka I. Nwachukwu applauded the OWSD Umudike branch for organizing the seminar to sensitize women in science, imploring women to engage a support system to enable them create a work-life balance.

In her words: “No woman in the field of science could succeed without a support group. It is either your research work or your home will suffer or even both, and that is why you need a support group/system to excel in your chosen science career.”

Prof. Nwachukwu who also thanked the resource person, Dr. Anyaegbunam for the elaborative lecture, called for a sustained campaign for more women and girls in the study of science.

Highlight of the event was the presentation of the financial report by the Financial Secretary, Dr. Ngozi K. Achi, while
dignitaries at the event were, the National Public Relations Officer (PRO), Dr. Chioma Harbor, the Deputy Coordinator, OWSD Umudike, Prof. Judith Simoyan, Prof. Onyinye Ukpai, Prof. Uchechi Obike, Dr. Jane Nwaekpe, Dr. Ogechi Obiozor, Dr. Pearl Amadi, Mrs. Obiageri Chimaraoke among others.

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