“Likewise ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel,…” (KJV Bible. 1Peter 3:7)
Presumably, this is where we all got the idea from and it is understandable, as African is known to be the most religious continent. It is well believed that ‘the woman education ends in the kitchen’. However, the world has changed, and Africa is changing and I believe it is the reason for this call.
I had the opportunity to have a degree in one of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields, but I decided I was going to do the social sciences. The reason was that I had siblings who had degrees from STEM and as such pride themselves of being the best in the world. I therefore decided to prove to them that the other fields also rule. Now that’s my mindset and my determination pushing me through and through till I got to where I am today.
The mindset of a natural African woman has been corrupted with the belief that they are the ‘weaker vessels’ and that they are created to only be the ‘help mate’: managing the home and of course recreation. Even at basic levels of vocational learning, a parent will allow for the female children to learn how to bake and the male children are sent to the ‘mechanic workshop’. Only Femi and Kofi are allowed to change the bulbs, while Shade and Lupita sleeps and wakes up in the kitchen. And after much arguments and maybe cursing, Shade and Lupita should only hold and pass the bulb to Femi and Kofi for fixing; the reasons there are only ten percent (10%) of women in the technical aspect of the energy sector in the statistics given by the Global Energy Commission.
This aged long perception and the image built about women by everyone and the concerned (women) must be changed.
There should be a re-orientation to bring about a renewed mindset. Seminars and forums can be held to help the grown-ups (parents especially) help the up-coming ones. Here in African, parents and elderly persons influence the decisions of the children and younger ones to a larger extent. If we can change their mindset and their over-due orientation, we have saved our girls.
Also, there should be trainings right from the primary level of education. These trainings must include both practical and theory (seminars) aspects including empowerment programmes that must continue at each given level. This may be a bit difficult as we all have the ‘choice’ power. However, if the importance of how the 21st century works with the power of energy and STEM is been stressed as well as the benefits, it might be achievable.
Lastly is the smart method: scholarship, which I most recommend. Everyman loves the word ‘free’. And it is more believable here in Africa. We even have a name for it: ‘Awof’. Scholarships should be given with cogent ‘terms and conditions’ which might include the other two alternatives given, re-orientation of our parents and the training and or including the STEM disciplines in the curriculum right from the primary level of education.
In providing scholarship opportunities, we become mentors (talking to them) and sponsors (talking about them) for those lagging and in no time we might be addressing the need of more women in other sectors as the ‘old boys’ network will already be broken.