Less than 30% of researchers worldwide are women and UNESCO data shows that only about 30% of all female students choose science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields at a tertiary level. Four African women scientists share their experiences in forging STEM careers.
Professor Ekanem Ikpi Braide, Nigeria
STEM appeals to me because it pervades all aspects of life. Most problems in nation building can be solved by applying STEM. The problem–solving attitude required of scientists makes life very exciting.
Personally, I have not experienced any bias (in my career) but I have seen many women experience bias. In most instances, particularly among elites, it is subtle and not direct. No one would say “I cannot employ you because you are a woman” or “I cannot promote you because you are a woman” – though the reason is actually gender. Among parents, particularly in the rural areas, it is more direct. Many parents would say, “Let your brother go to school first because we do not have money.” Read more