The third Summit of the African Women Engineers organized by the Committee of Women in Engineering of the Federation of African Engineering Organization was held virtually on 4th December, 2020.
The theme of the symposium was “Achieving Gender Equality in Africa – Perspective of Female Engineers. The programme had about 120 Women Engineers in attendance from all regions of Africa and 2 International participants from the United Kingdom and Australia.
The Symposium was aimed at enhancing the understanding of “Gender Equality” SDG#5 of the Sustainable Development Goals, with respect to the practice of Engineering in Africa and stimulation of longer-term communications which will facilitate the development of collaborations, strategies and policies between countries and regions of Africa for the accelerated development of the girl child.
The Opening Ceremony had the FAEO President, Eng. Martin Manuhwa who gave the Keynote speech, WFEO Immediate Past President, Dr. Marlene Kanga, WFEO- Deputy Chair of the Women in Engineering Committee, Prof. Dawn Bonfiled, WFEO-WIE immediate past Chair, Engr. Valerie Agberagba, Presidents of Engineering Institutions and many male engineers. In attendance also was the FAEO President-Elect, Ing. Carlien Bou-Chedid who gave the closing remarks.
The Chair of the Committee, Engr. Yetunde Holloway in her opening remarks expressed her excitement to have all participants at the great event. She said the Committee of Women in Engineering (CWiE) is a firm champion of the Sustainable Development Goals and the symposium examines a few.
Speaking about SDG5- Gender Equality, She said Gender Equality is not about competing with or alienating males. It is about providing equal opportunity for all, regardless of their differences and accepting and harnessing the wealth of those differences to contribute to the development of society and enabling the dissimilarities to become a propelling strength for all humanity’’ . she said Gender inequality is one of the major struggles of the 21st century. Not only is it unfair but it is a huge waste of the world’s human resource and potential! As session 1 of the symposium will thus addresses the issue in terms of Quality Education –SDG#4-“Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”.
The Plenary session on Achieving Gender Equality in Africa-Gender Equality -A Panacea for Development in Africa and parallel sessions had panelists from different regions of Africa who discussed on the following sub-themes:
- Optimizing Education opportunities for African Female Engineers: Attraction, Retention and Career progression (SDG 4 and SDG 5)
- Providing Affordable Clean Energy in the African Continent – Female Engineers leading the Way (SDG 7)
- Inclusive and Sustainable Cities and Communities in Africa-the year 2030 approaches (SDG11)
- Watching the numbers –Gender Disaggregated Engineering Indicators.
All sessions were interactive which resulted in the following outcomes.
- Strengthened strategic alliances between female engineering associations within Africa
- Stimulation of longer term communications which will facilitate the development of collaborations, strategies and policies between regions for the accelerated development of the girl child.
- Enhanced understanding of Gender Equality with respect to the practice of Engineering in Africa.
- Enhanced support for rethinking Africa’s development priority with an inclusive and diverse engineering sector
- Promote engineering gender disaggregated data as a tool for measurement of impact and gender policy development in African PEI and PEOs
- Highlight causes and proffer solutions to gender disparities in the engineering education and work environment, with a view to influencing policies for change
- Stimulated access to safe, inclusive and accessible green and public spaces for African women ,using engineering skills and tools
- Ensured inclusive and sustainable urbanization of our cities, using engineering skills and tools
- Enhanced access to adequate and inclusive safe and affordable housing and basic services
- Enhanced knowledge on the importance of affordable clean energy in African homes.
The Programme came to an end with a closing remark from FAEO-President-Elect, Ing. Carlien Bou-Chedid and a vote of thanks by the Chairperson, Planning Committee, Smita Francis.
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