The United Nations (UN) has gathered that there has been long-standing biases and gender stereotypes steering girls and women away from science related fields.
As in the real world, the world on screen reflects similar biases—the 2015 Gender Bias Without Borders study by the Geena Davis Institute showed that of the onscreen characters with an identifiable STEM job, only 12 per cent were women.
In Ghana, however, the narratives is changing as women are venturing into the field known to be exclusive to men only.
One of such daring women is Lois Afua Damptey, an MPhil Engineering Student at the University of Ghana who recently won a top International Award in Engineering Research.
Lois Afua Damptey was among over 100 participants from 27 countries, worldwide, selected and asked to prepare a pictorial presentation of their academic research to the Pan African Conference on Crystallography.
Her project was centred on discovering a suitable material that could convert nonedible Ghanaian oil seeds and waste materials into biofuels.
On stereotypes that the engineering world is meant for men, Lois disagreeing with the notion said women can also take up the challenge and succeed once they are focused, driven and determined.
“I feel people (women) are seeing it as a very difficult course but I’m seeing it as a course of strategy. I’m seeing it as a course of discipline. It only means you have to spend longer hours and try to grasp onto that (Engineering). So if you are able to analyse yourself and say that hey I can do this.”
“Learn it to get it,” she added.
According to her, she was a “total failure” in her first year in Engineering School but had to sit up and became the overall best student in her final year.
“I didn’t mind going to juniors to teach me that Algebra. You will care to know I was a total failure in level hundred. I was below the red line. In Engineering School if you don’t make 1.5GP, you will be sacked and a lot of people were sacked. I realized I needed to up my game. I sat down, made group studies.”
She advised women to take up the challenge and explore Engineering as a course and profession saying, “Women in engineering, if you really want to do this engineering, you should just grasp onto it. Do it ask for assistance; Science, Doctoral, and Pharmacy is not the only Science course. Engineering is available. You just need to spend extra hours to make it work”.
In order to achieve full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls, and further achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/70/212 declaring 11 February as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.
The theme for 2019 is “Investment in Women and Girls in Science for Inclusive Green Growth”
Lois Afua Damptey joins the likes of these amazing Ghanaian women making great strides in the Science and Technology fields as reported by Ghana Talks Business –
Anne Amuzu – co-founded Nandimobile Ltd in 2010 and has been its Technical Development Lead since 2010. Ms. Amuzu has extensive knowledge and experience in software development, and in leading development teams. She holds a BSc in Computer Engineering from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).
Ethel D. Cofie – Named one of the top 5 women impacting I.T in Africa, Ethel is the CEO and Founder of EDEL Technology Consulting- I.T Consulting Company in West Africa and Europe (I.T Consulting Firm of the Year-Ghana Telecoms and I.T Awards) and founder of Women in Tech Africa (Africa’s Largest Tech Group) with members in over 30 African countries and in the diaspora and growing.
Regina Honu – Software developer and founder of Soronko Solutions, a software development company in Ghana. Regina started Tech Needs Girls Ghana movement which aims to train and educate more Ghanaian girls into studying technology related courses. The movement is well noted for teaching girls how to code. Her success has garnered international attention with features on platforms such as CNN African Voices, BBC, Deutsche Welle, Aljazeera as well as the Impatient Optimist blog by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Dr. Kajsa Hallberg Adu is an interdisciplinary academic with a strong foundation in research, liberal arts, and community involvement. She joined Ashesi University College in 2009 as a lecturer, and teaches social theory, leadership as well as leads the work with our writing courses.
Kajsa is the founder of BloggingGhana, an organization for social media influencers in Ghana. She is herself a successful blogger on kajsaha.com and tweets @kajsaha, BloggingGhana has influenced blogging in Ghana since its inception.
Akofio-Sowah Currently the Country Lead of Google Ghana, Estelle is a highly motivated individual, committed to the social and economic development of Ghana. Previously the Managing Director of BusyInternet, Africa’s hugely successful internet startup, highlights of her leadership there include launching an ISP which went on to be awarded ISP of the year 2008, winning a World Bank Incubator SME program grant and successfully raising the finances required to open two additional cafe outlets serving an average of 1000 clients per day. In 2008, Estelle was awarded Top African ICT Business Woman by the ForgeAhead African ICT Achievers Award Program in South Africa.
Farida Bedwei. Farida, the Head of the Technical Department (CTO) of Logiciel is a Ghanaian software architect with over 15 years’ experience in the development and implementation of mobile and enterprise software. She has developed payroll, human resource and other information management systems for a number of clients within Ghana and the West African sub-region
Farida has an incredible story of overcoming cerebral palsy to become one of the top software engineers in Ghana. Cerebral palsy refers to a family of neurological disorders that appear in infancy or early childhood and permanently affect body movement, posture and muscle coordination.