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Archive of ‘Versity’ category

Women group identifies sexual harassment, early marriage as barriers to girl-child education in Bauchi

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Bauchi State chapter of the women group, High Level Women Advocates (HILWA) has identified sexual harassment, insecurity and early marriage as some barriers to girl-child education in the state.

The Secretary of the group in the state, Hajiya Halima Dimis, made this known in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Bauchi on Friday.

She said women and girls in Bauchi State had continued to face barriers such as sexual harassment, ethnicity, poverty, disability and early marriage based on their gender.

Other problems, she said, were peer group influence and the lack of sanitary facilities which denied them enjoyment and the right to quality education when compared to the males.

Dimis said HILWA officials were able to identify the barriers after a visit to various female schools in the state.

She added that “we visited some schools in the state and interacted with the female students over the barriers to their enrollment and retention in school.”

She, therefore, urged government to look into the barriers and other harmful practices against the girl-child with a view to tackling them.

The scribe stressed the need to promote inclusive education for girls with disabilities in schools, pointing out that HILWA, in partnership with UNICEF and the Bauchi State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) were working to strengthen girl-child education. (NAN)

Girl-Child: HILWA introduce strategies to boost female school enrollment

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The High Level Women Advocates (HILWA) an NGO, says it has introduced strategies that boosted the 2018 girl-child school enrolment in Katsina State.

HILWA is a Non-Governmental Organisation that works with UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to assist the girl-child to possess relevant education qualification.

Hajiya Mariya Abdullahi, the Chairperson of HILWA in Katsina State, disclosed this during an event to
mark the 2018 International Day of the Girl-Child on Tuesday in Katsina.

Abdullahi said that the organisation had conducted the 2018 female school enrolment census which indicated that many girls had been registered as against the 2017 enrollment figures.

The chairperson added that “HILWA introduced a programme called — “Girls For Girls” (G For G) — whereby female civil servants assist by encouraging parents to enroll their daughters in primary and junior secondary schools.

“G For G as we popularly call the programme is purely a women affair designed to cajole girls to schools sometimes with a gift or incentives by women civil servants to make sure girls are enrolled and retained in schools.

“We also introduced enlightenment and sensitisation campaigns that we follow to educate parents on the need to enroll daughters in school.

“Our organisation and UNICEF introduced a scholarship scheme of N25,000 to each female that enrolled in primary school in villages across the state.”

The chairperson of the women advocates added that the NGO introduced another programme called
“He or She”, where school boys were mobilised to encourage girls to obtain education.

“We also introduced “Female Teacher Training Scheme” (FTTS) a programme that encouraged female wards to obtain NCE at Isah Kaita College of Education with a scholarship of N50,000 yearly for selected girls from villages to become school teachers in rural areas.”

Abdullahi said the group also introduced “Enrolment Campaign Drive” under the Emirs of Katsina and Daura to mobilise their subjects to send their daughters to school.

She explained that the organisation was committed to assist the girl-child to obtain both western and Islamic education.

“This time around, we will also assist the girls to learn hand crafts and vocational skills.

“We don’t want girls to fold their arms and wait for handout from their parents or husbands, we shall continue to mobilise and teach them on how to become self reliant that will improve their lives and that of their coming children.”

HILWA, in collaboration with UNICEF, produced 3,500 female NCE teachers under the FTTS and they had been given employment to teach in their wards and villages to serve as role models in their areas. (NAN)

UNFPA advocates more investment in adolescent girls skills, knowledge

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The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) has urged countries to ensure that young people entering into the labour market acquired skills and knowledge needed to help businesses thrive and nations prosper.

Dr. Natalia Kanem, Executive Director, UNFPA gave the advice in a statement issued to commemorate 2018 International Day of the Girl Child on Tuesday in Abuja.

According to Kanem, investing in a skilled girl force can become a new force for innovation and leadership, adding that such investment will also enable countries to compete in a fast-changing global economy.

She said that young persons including adolescent girls should be empowered, especially in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics among other disciplines, which are in high demand by emerging industries.

Kanem said, ”UNFPA believes in the power of girls to change this world for the better, stressing that adolescent girls and young persons should be given a chance.

“Around the world, millions of adolescent girls are waiting to claim their power and fulfil their potential; let us help them exercise their rights and realize their aspirations.

“ Let us invest in their health and education, their skills and their leadership, and then let’s get out of their way and let them lead,’’ she said.

The executive director lamented that too many girls face roadblocks on their journey to adulthood.

“Child marriage and adolescent pregnancy force millions of girls to drop out of school; harmful laws and social norms curtail girls’ knowledge and autonomy over their own bodies.

“ Entrenched gender discrimination can lay the foundation for a lifetime of missed opportunities. It doesn’t have to be this way.

”A different future is possible, and girls themselves are leading the way,’’ she said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the ‘International Day of the Girl Child’ was launched in 2012 by the United Nations General Assembly; the day is celebrated annually on October 11.

The main aims of the day are to promote girl’s empowerment and fulfillment of their human rights, while also highlighting the challenges that girls all over the world face.

The theme of 2018 International Day of the Girl is: `With Her: A Skilled Girl Force’.

The day marked the beginning of a year-long effort to bring together partners and stakeholders to advocate for, and draw attention and investments to the most pressing needs and opportunities for girls to attain skills for employability.(NAN)

International Day of the Girl Child 2018: Here is How The Global Community Can Help Develop a Skilled GirlForce

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There are over 1 billion young people – including 600 million adolescent girls – that will enter the workforce in the next decade.

More than 90% of those living in developing countries will work in the informal sector, where low or no pay, abuse and exploitation are common.

This year, the  International Day of the Girl is themed With Her: A Skilled GirlForce. The global community is being called upon to help young girls attain the skills they need to thrive in STEM and other sectors of the economy.

According to the United Nations, in order to develop A Skilled GirlForce, the global community should:

  • Rapidly expand access to inclusive education and training.
  • Improve the quality and gender-responsiveness of teaching and learning to enable girls to develop foundational, transferable and job-specific skills for life and work.
  • Create inclusive and accessible schools, training and learning opportunities to empower girls with disabilities.
  • Change gender stereotypes, social norms and unconscious bias to provide girls with the same learning and career opportunities as boys.
  • Increase girls’ participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) learning.
  • Create initiatives to support girls’ school-to-work transition, such as career guidance, apprenticeships, internships and entrepreneurship.
  • Deliver large-scale public and private sector programming for girls’ skills and market-adapted training.
  • Enable access to finance and enterprise development for female entrepreneurs.
  • Form strategic partnerships with governments and private companies which can act as thought leaders and financiers, helping to train girls and bring them into the workforce.

Let us stand with her – the future freelancer, entrepreneur, teacher, scientist, and software engineer – to develop skills now and remove other gender barriers she faces, so that she and every girl can join A Skilled GirlForce.

 

26m women may lose jobs to technology- IMF

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its report titled “Gender, Technology and the Future Work” estimated that at least 26 million female jobs in 30 countries were at risk of being displaced by technology.

The IMF President, Ms Christine Lagarde made this known on Tuesday in a panel discussion on “Empowering Women in the Workplace” at the IMF/World Bank Annual Meetings in Bali, Indonesia.

Lagarde said that globally, 11 per cent of women were at risk of losing their jobs due to advances in computer technology, while only four per cent of the male population faces same risk.

“Less well-educated and older female workers, aged 40 and above, as well as those in low-skill clerical, service, and sales positions are disproportionately exposed to automation.

“Extrapolating our results, we find that around 180 million female jobs are at high risk of being displaced globally.

“Therefore policies are needed to endow women with required skills, close gender gaps in leadership positions and bridge digital gender divide that could confer greater flexibility in work, benefiting women,” she said.

Also, the Indonesian Minister of Finance, Mrs Mulyani Indrawati said that adding more women into the labour force of an economy would reduce poverty and ensure prosperity.

She urged women to be role models at their places of work.

“As women, we must strive to do extraordinarily well in other to set example for the younger generation.

“We also need to ensure girls have the right role models and mentors so they can really be the ones leading the way.”

Also, the Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Mrs Vera Songwe, said that increased access to the internet would bridge women’s skill gap.

“250 million fewer women than men in 2017 had access to the internet. In Africa, 27 million fewer women access reliable and affordable internet which will help close the current digital divide.”

She said also that higher female labour force participation could boost economic growth of a country.

“Creating more and better opportunities for women to engage in paid work and a greater ability to control their income and assets can also contribute to stronger economic growth in emerging market and low-income economies,” she said. (NAN)

UK space agency encourages girls to be space women

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The UK Space Agency joined a campaign on Monday to encourage girls to consider careers in space.

The UK Space Agency has helped produce a resource pack for schools to boost the recruitment of girls who typically do not choose subjects in their plus-16 years such as physics and engineering.

The “People like me” initiative aims to help girls understand the breadth of careers open to them in the space sector by introducing them to role models who are working in the field.

The women featured in the campaign come from different backgrounds and work in different areas across the space sector.

Alice Bunn, International Director at the UK Space Agency, said: “Like every other high-tech sector, space needs talented scientists and engineers, but with fewer women in science, we are missing out on half of the talented people on the planet.”

The UK Space Industry is working with an industry and university supported organisation Women into Science and Engineering (WISE), set up to boost talent growth in Britain.

It provides services to employers, educators and training providers.

“WISE enables and energises people in business, industry and education to increase the participation, contribution and success of Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM),” said a spokesperson for WISE.

Figures show girls remain under-represented across core science, technology, engineering and maths subjects, said the agency.

Recent research by the University of Roehampton has revealed that 30,000 fewer girls are studying key stage four level computing subjects compared to when the computing curriculum was introduced in Britain in 2014. (Xinhua/NAN)

AU commission seeks more African women participation in science, technology

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The African Union (AU) Scientific, Technical and Research Commission (STRC) has called for the participation of more of the continent’s women in engineering, science and technology.

The Executive Director of the commission, Dr Ahmed Hamdy, made the call on Wednesday while delivering a Report on STRC Programmes and Activities to the Committee of 10 African Ambassadors on Science, Technology and Innovation at a meeting in Abuja.

Friends of Africa Ambassadors and Partners were privy to the report.

Hamdy said that the call became necessary bearing in mind the need for women, who constitute 50 per cent of the population in Africa to contribute their quota to engineering, scientific and technological research and development.

He attributed the low level participation of women in science and technology to cultural and religious issues militating against the capacity of women to express themselves.

The executive director said that it was in a bid to enhance the participation of more African women in science that STRC with support of UNESCO and Merck embarked on a desk study and public consultation.

According to him, more than 200 young and mid-career female scientists were consulted and the outcome published.

He said that the study identified intervention mechanisms to be put in place for enhanced women participation in science.

Hamdy said that the mechanisms were structured into two parts, with the first relating to the review of the gross enrollment ratio of male and female cutting across primary, lower secondary, upper secondary, and tertiary institutions.

He explained that in the first part, issues of gender disparity/equality were considered in order to achieve a paradigm shift in support for women in science.

The second part, he said, dwelt on a strategic analysis conducted on a focused group of 200 mid-career scientists with the overall objective of enhancing technical and professional competencies to accelerate Africa’s transition to an innovation-led, knowledge-based economy.

The executive director stated that the second part of the exercise led to increased number of sensitisation/capacity building programmes for female scientists and began to focus on political commitment to female participation in science.

According to him, the Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA-2024), is one of the three distinct strategies
for advancing education and science, technology and innovation in Africa.

He said that the commission was working assiduously to ensure that science and technology took its rightful place in the national life of AU member states.

On Africa’s science and technology innovation challenges as they relate to climate change, Hamdy said that the commission had worked out modalities of building the capacity member states to access Green Climate Funds and Adaptation Funds from partners such as the United Nations and the World Bank.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that ambassadors, high commissioners and representatives from Tunisia, Kenya, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Namibia, Burundi, Egypt and Chad were at the meeting.

Others represented at the one-day meeting were Norway, South Korea, Argentina and India. (NAN)

2018 RUFORUM Young African Entrepreneurs Competition

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The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) is a network of 85 Universities in 35 African countries is pleased to announce the 2018 RUFORUM Young African Entrepreneurs Competition (RUYAEC). The 2018 RUFORUM Young African Entrepreneurs Competition (RUYAEC) whose overall purpose is to catalyse entrepreneurship through promotion of business innovation and provision of seed funding to young entrepreneurs with creative and innovative business ideas among African youth. RUYAEC invites young (<35 years) African entrepreneurs and incubates to compete for 20 awards to show case their innovations, enterprises and business concepts and propositions.

The RUFORUM Young African Entrepreneurs Competition primary purpose is to promote business innovation through entrepreneurship and provide seed funding to young entrepreneurs with creative and innovative business ideas to be valorized and enhance and foster a spirit of entrepreneurship among African youth. The competition specifically seeks to:

  • Provide young entrepreneurs with opportunity to show-case their businesses and share their development as an inspiration to many young African potential entrepreneurs
  • Bring collective action towards provision of seed funding to young entrepreneurs through a transparent and competitive process.
  • Provide a platform for young entrepreneurs to demonstrate their impact and pitch their business with investors and stakeholders through capacity building opportunity.
  • Create a network of young entrepreneurs across Africa working together and sharing experiences that escalate youth contribution and job creation in Africa.

Target group

The challenge will target young people between 16-34 years.

You can apply here

Deadline: 31 August

Meet the Nigerian School Girls Who Won Technovation Prize For a Fake-Drug Detector

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Every year Technovation invites girls to identify a problem in their community, and then challenges them to solve it. Girls work in teams to build a mobile app and create a business plan to launch that app, supported by mentors and guided by the Technovation curriculum.

This year, five Nigerian teenagers won first place in the junior division of the Technovation World Pitch Summit held in San Jose, California for the FD Detector (Fake Drug Detector) App that tackles the problem of counterfeit pharmaceutical products in Nigeria.

For years, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has been struggling with the issue of conterfiet drugs in Nigeria. A lot malaria deaths in Nigeria are have been linked to the use fake medicines and 40% of counterfiet drugs all over the world is dumped in Africa.

The winning team consists of five girls from Regina Pacies Secondary School Onitsha, Anambra State: Promise Nnalue, Jessica Osita, Nwabuka Ossai, Adaeze Onuigbo and Vivian Okoye.

They were mentored by 2017 Mandela Washington Fellow, Uchenna Onwuaegbu-Ugwu who founded a STEM Center for children and youth from ages 3-18, especially girls in rural communities in eastern Nigeria.

Technovation has worked with more than 23,000 girls around the world to develop mobile apps and startup and in 2018 nearly 2,000 teams submitted mobile apps to the program (a 59% increase from 2017).

 

 

 

 

Probe panel accuses Japan medical university of cutting women’s test scores

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A panel of lawyers on Tuesday accused a Japanese medical school
of deliberately cutting women’s entrance test scores for several years.

The panel, hired by the school to investigate the issue, described their action as “very serious” instance of discrimination.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has made a priority of creating a society “where women can shine”, but women in Japan still face an uphill battle in employment and face hurdles returning to work after childbirth, which contributes to a falling birthrate.

The alterations were uncovered in an internal investigation of a graft accusation this spring regarding the entrance exam for Tokyo Medical University, sparking protests and widespread anger following media reports.

Lawyers investigating bribery accusations in the admission of the son of a senior education ministry official said they concluded that his score and that of several other men were boosted “unfairly” – some by as much as 49 points.

They also concluded that scores were manipulated to give men more points than women and thus hold down the number of women admitted.

“This incident is really regrettable – by deceptive recruitment procedures, they sought to delude the test takers, their families, school officials and society as a whole,” lawyer Kenji Nakai told a news conference.

“Factors suggesting very serious discrimination against women was also part of it,” added Nakai, one of the external lawyers hired by the university to investigate the incident.

The investigation showed the scores of men – including those reappearing after failing once or twice, were raised a certain number of points.

Those of all women, and men who had failed the test at least three times, were not, however.

The lawyers said they did not know how many women had been affected, but it appeared that women’s test scores had been affected going back at least a decade.

Medical school authorities have called a news conference for 5 p.m.

No immediate comment was available from the government or the education ministry official who figures in the case.

Entrance exam discrimination against women was “absolutely unacceptable”, Education Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi told newsmen on Friday.

Reports of the incident appeared at the start of August, setting off a furore in Japan, spurring women to recount their own experiences of discrimination on social media with the hashtag, “It’s okay to be angry about sexism.”

Some referred to the potential costs exacted in a rapidly aging society.

“I’m 29 and will probably never get married,” said one poster.

“Women are pitied if they don’t, but Japanese women who are married and working and have kids end up sleeping less than anybody in the world.

“To now hear that even our skills are suppressed makes me shake with rage.”

Another said,”I ignored my parents, who said women don’t belong in academia, and got into the best university in Japan. But in job interviews I’m told ‘If you were a man, we’d hire you right away.’

“My enemy wasn’t my parents, but all society itself.” (Reuters/NAN)

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