In celebration of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, the United States of America Consul-General, Mr. John Bray, remarked that despite that only about 30 percent of women and girls are in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) -related disciplines, he is certain the world would fair better if all social and occupational barriers against women are removed.

Mr. Bray, speaking at the Hidden Figures’ screening at the Silverbird Cinema, called on the Nigerian government create an enabling environment for more women and girls to be involved in the sciences.

While admonishing the students in attendance at the event, the US Consul-General said “Let me thank our hosts, Silverbird Cinemas, Vision 2020 Youth Empowerment and Restoration Initiative, the schools represented here today, and the alumni of U.S. government exchange programs who are here.

“According to a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization report, only around 30 per cent of all female students around the world select Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics-related fields in higher education.

“Nevertheless, I know the women and girls with us today, especially the young girls, are interested in STEM. That is fantastic! For that, I congratulate you! I applaud your interest in these fields. Why? The reason is simple: today, achievement in STEM-related fields is a key building block for any country’s economic success. With that in mind, friends and allies of Nigeria must encourage and assist Nigeria to succeed in this area.

“Now, the movie you are about to watch, “Hidden Figures,” presents the true story of three brilliant African-American women who successfully broke racial and gender barriers to contribute to America’s race to the moon. It is very inspiring and I believe it will encourage you to overcome any obstacles and defy and doubters that you may encounter in your pursuit of a career in STEM.

“You must be confident in your intelligence and demonstrate the determination and drive to succeed in any career path that you choose.

“Challenge yourselves, learn more about successful women in STEM fields, and draw inspiration from them.” Mr. Bray advised.

US Consul-General John BrayUS Consul-General, Mr. John Bray

Speaking further, the US Consular added that, “The U.S. government is convinced that when barriers to the participation of women and girls in the STEM fields are removed, women do better, families do better, countries do better, and the world does better. Whether at home or abroad, promoting women in the STEM fields is a priority of the U.S. Government.

“More broadly, the United States has invested millions of dollars to advance gender equality across sub-Saharan Africa, through activities that promote political and economic opportunities for women, access to health and education services, and prevent or respond to gender-based violence,” he said.

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