Home Aviation Personnel SheEngineer: NAMA boss drums support for active female engagement in engineering

SheEngineer: NAMA boss drums support for active female engagement in engineering

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.…as Engr. Agubata lists achievements in STEM training

The Managing Director, Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Mr Lawrence Pwajok has called on all stakeholders in the aviation sector, women and advocacy organizations, to encourage the active participation of females in the aviation industry. 

He said, this can be done through the creation of more opportunities for women, advocacy development at all levels.

Pwajok in a key note address at the launch/awards of SheEngineer 30% Club, an initiative of Engr. Felicia Agubata said, to achieve the fulfillment of the SheEngineer 30% Club objectives by the year 2030 all hands must be on deck to reorientate, encourage and mobilize young girls to take up careers in aviation.

According to Pwajok, gender diversity and inclusion was the step in the right direction in Nigeria if the industry is to be preserved and made relevant for future generations.

He noted that  SheEngineer 30% Club is the fuel driving the notable transformation in the aviation, automotive and energy sectors in Nigeria. 

The NAMA boss noted that the International Civil Aviation Organization in 2021, in a bid to encourage women in aviation, announced a 50 per cent discount on various aviation courses and certifications for women. 

“The announcement was in line with the Sustainable Development Goal 5 (gender equality) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development founded by the United Nations”.

He added, “Although progress has been made, it however seems slow, and thus, stakeholders in the aviation industry should be encouraged to do more in promoting gender diversity and inclusion. This is one reason, the SheEngineer 30% Club is a welcome development”.

Pwajok said as issues of gender diversity and inclusion continue to top the agenda of most organizations in aviation, with an increasing number adopting diversity and inclusion policies like SheEngineer 30% club, the sector’s overall population is becoming increasingly diverse, and cultivating diversity and a culture of inclusion would continue to remain a key tenant for successful organizations in aviation in the coming years.

“In recent years, organizations like the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has launched initiatives such as the IATA 25 by 2025 gender diversity initiative, a voluntary initiative for the aviation sector to improve female representation in the industry”

“The campaign was to serve as an initial step to making the aviation industry more gender balanced. The campaign which was launched in 2019 is seeking to create opportunities for more women with sought after aviation technical and policy qualifications and experience in the aviation sector across the globe”.

Pwajok explained that the aviation sector was a major contributor to Nigeria’s economic growth with sector supporting over 241,000 jobs and contributes over $1.7b to GDP. representing 0.4% of the nation’s GDP as noted by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) but noted with sadness that only about 13% of jobs in aviation are held by women.

According to him “Today, the aviation industry is grappling with methods to improve inclusion and diversity. With majority of aircraft pilots, Air traffic Engineers, flight engineers , Air traffic controllers and aviation administrators in Nigeria being male. The executive side has not fared any better as only 3% of managerial and executive”.

Presenting her concept note for the SheEngineer 30% Club project, Engr. Felicia Agubata said the Club is a Royal Academy of Engineering UK funded initiative by the Association of Professional Women of Nigeria (APWEN) to build a voluntary network of Professional engineering institutions, business and organisations in the aviation, automative and energy sectors in Lagos state to achieve a 30% minimum gender balance within their workforce by 2030.

Agubata said records have shown that over 5.5 million girls were out of school in Nigeria while 40 percent never attended school adding that more boys 61 percent enrolled for primary education than girls with 56 percent.

The Former President of APWEN also disclosed that there are more males studying engineering in universities than female that are predominantly studying non scientific and non technical disciplines.

Agubata noted that women are largely under represented in engineering sector in the country while professional women engineers have been known to suffer discrimination at work, stressing that the situation has led to capital flight and brain drain for Nigeria.

Enumerating some of her achievements, Agubata said 79 female engineers capacity have been built on how to effectively train STEM teachers while 300 girls in public secondary schools in Lagos State have been mentored to take up engineering as a career.

She opined that more job opportunities for female should be created, employers must be committed to retain and support talented women while positive workplaces should be created through training in equality and diversity.

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