AN EXAMINATION OF WOMEN IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY BASED INDUSTRY AS A FACTOR IN MAINSTREAMING GIRLS INTO STM EDUCATION

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AN EXAMINATION OF WOMEN IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY BASED INDUSTRY AS A FACTOR IN MAINSTREAMING GIRLS INTO STM EDUCATION

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background to the Study

In recent years, gender discrimination in the workplace has grown to become an increasingly common occurrence. Discrimination, which is still commonplace in many facets of life across the globe, is the root cause of many gender-related problems and is also their source (Maduewesi, 2015). Women have the impression that they are sexually discriminated against on a regular basis when decisions about who gets a job, promotion, or other work perks are made. According to Nwana (2017) and Maduabun, who were both referenced in Okeke (2020), the researchers believed that there was a significant lack of female participation in the areas of science, technology, and mathematics in Nigeria. Woman, according to Hornby (2014), is defined as an adult female human being. In contrast, according to Esan (2013), a woman is a mature female who has grown older and gained more wisdom and experience over the course of her life. Women, on the other hand, have been relegated to a supporting position in recent times as a result of societal trends. According to Streisand (2020), it is acceptable for males to exhibit feelings of dedication and enthusiasm for the profession that they do. It is acceptable for a woman to feel this way about a guy, but not toward her career.

A gender stereotype is a propensity to have a fixed set of views about the roles, traits, or features of a certain group of people. These notions are frequently incorrectly generalized to be true in all circumstances, which is what gives rise to the predisposition to have these ideas in the first place. According to Kanno (2013), it might either be a set of firm beliefs on many subjects or a way of life. To look at it from a different angle, he considers stereotyping to be the act of ascribeing certain qualities or characteristics, either favorably or negatively, to a specific group of people. Wilde (2017) considers women to be little more than ornamental sex, despite the fact that women have achieved success in every field throughout history. Gabe (2020), on the other hand, held the opinion that males made the decision a few centuries ago that any job that they found revolting was considered “women’s labour,” and that vocations that involve intellect, technology, and research should be kept for men. Occupations that are centered on science and technology are considered to be “men’s jobs” since our culture views these types of work as traditionally being performed by males. As a direct result of this, there are extremely few women working in fields related to science and technology. There are a small number of jobs that account for a disproportionately large share of women’s employment opportunities. These jobs include working in private households or on farms as helpers, nurses, caregivers, teachers, or computer assistants.

 

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According to Okeke (2019), a number of socio-cultural and school-based issues have combined to diminish women’s interest in Science, Technology, and Mathematics education, which subsequently hinders their full involvement. Okeke cites these reasons as having a combined effect on the school system. It is a common misconception that boys and males are inherently more talented in fields of study like science and technology than girls and women. This assumption has a detrimental effect on the number of women who pursue careers in the artisanal sectors of science and technology. She is also of the idea that an employer or purchaser of a service would rather engage a male artisan than a female equivalent owing to the former’s higher rate of production.

According to Nyerere, who was referenced in Ogunjobi (2018), “no one can walk far or swiftly with just one leg,” which is why it is an economic need for women to fully participate in the artisan vocations available in the fields of science and technology. According to Ogunjobi (2018), women make up approximately 51 percent of the population in Nigeria. As a result, it is impossible to ignore or neglect the scientific potentials of Nigeria’s female population if the country hopes to achieve both sustainable economic development and the millennium development goals. Therefore, it is impossible to place enough emphasis on the significance of women working in artisan vocations that are based on science and technology. In addition to lowering the unemployment rate, it will also give women more agency and make a positive contribution to the expansion of the national economy. According to Nnaka (2005), after obtaining knowledge and training in science and technology, women have a decreased likelihood of being shy or easily frightened. Because hardworking women are less likely to engage in illegal activities, there will be a reduction in the overall crime rate as well.

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The proportion of young people in a number of African nations who choose to major in scientific fields is falling, and there is already a scarcity of scientists and engineers on the labor market; this deficit will only become worse as the continent’s population ages (Opaluwah, 2007). The motivation of young people is one of the most important aspects that should be considered when trying to increase the number of students who enroll in science classes. Other important factors include access to sufficient knowledge and scientific literacy. At a very young age (often at the primary school level), school students begin to establish their perspectives on science, and these perspectives may either have a favorable or bad influence on their attitudes toward science and technology. As a result of their disproportionate share of the burden within the family division of labor, Nigerian women continue to face barriers while trying to find employment, particularly in fields centered on science and technology. As a consequence of this, the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) pertaining to the empowerment of women and gender equality is being hindered in a meaningless way (Opaluwah, 2017).

The mindset of society is perhaps the single most significant obstacle that prevents women from entering scientific and technology-based artisan occupations. [Citation needed] There are many beliefs that have been perpetuated for a long time about the physiological differences between the sexes, and these myths are directly tied to the vocational constraints that are imposed on women’s ambition and inspiration. It is a commonly held belief, for instance, that women who work in artisan vocations based on science and technology tend to lose their traditionally feminine qualities, such as passivity, emotionalism, intuition, and receptivity. Onuebunwa (2018), however, observed that this situation will still prevail. As a result, Nigerian women are required to fight against an oppressive socio-cultural religious, illiterate, and outright discrimination in certain occupations in order to earn their living. This is because they are being distracted from science and technology based artisan jobs by social and cultural beliefs.  It is against this background that this study examines women in science and technology based industry as a factor in mainstreaming girls into STM education.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The school system in Nigeria has been making slow but steady strides in integrating more female students into its science and technology programs. This is shown by the high proportion of female applicants to colleges and institutions specializing in this discipline each year. On the other hand, women who work in fields that are traditionally dominated by men are often stigmatized by society. This is a direct effect of the significance that society put on gender roles in relation to occupational opportunities. The researcher also notes that there are fewer women working in science and technology based artisan jobs in this region of the world in comparison to other developed countries. Since the researcher feels that a similar trend is occurring among girls who are educated in science and mathematics, he made the decision to investigate whether or not there is any connection between the patterns. There have been a number of studies done on the topic of women’s engagement in science and technology; however, not a great deal of attention has been paid to the integration of mathematics education, scientific education, and technology education for females. Because of this, the researcher decided that it would be appropriate to analyze the society’s present attitude towards women working in scientific and technology employment as a factor in mainstreaming females into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education. The country’s specific development plans targeted at improving women’s education in science and technology as well as equity in employment participation have, for the most part, failed to provide the desired results. Unhealthy state-controlled developmentalism has undoubtedly helped to weaken autonomous feminist initiative ever directed towards women’s liberation in our culture. This is because of the way that our society views development (Tsikata, 2017). It has been shown that there is a gender gap in scientific and technology fields around the globe in terms of enrollments, achievements, and employment (Azuogu, 2018 and Nepa, 2018). Although it is clear that women have fared quite well in scientific fields, a significant number of women do not choose to base their careers on science or technology. Despite the fact that women are aware of the contributions that science and technology have made to the general growth of the country, they do not participate in employment that are based on research and technology in the same way that their male counterparts do. Therefore, the present study sought to investigate women in science and technology based industry as a factor in mainstreaming girls into STM education.

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1.3   Objective of the Study

The general objective of this study is to investigate the women in science and technology based industry as a factor in mainstreaming girls into STM education. To achieve this, the researcher aims at:

  1. To examine the attitude of  women in science and technology based jobs.
  2. To find out iflevel of education influence women towards science and technology industry.
  • To investigate the extent at which gender influence society’s attitude towards women in science and technology industry.
  1. To assess whether level of incomeinfluences women towards science and technology

1.4   Research Questions

To achieve the objectives of this study, the following research questions were raised.

  1. Do women have a positive attitude towards  science and technology based jobs?
  2. Does level of education influence women towards science and technology industry?
  • What isthe extent at which gender influence society’s attitude towards women in science and technology industry?
  1. Doeslevel of income influences women towards science and technology industry?

1.5   Significance of the Study

The study will be significant to teachers  as they would be exposed to the appropriate methods to be used in teaching language to the child in school, especially at the nursery and primary school system.

The study will be of benefit to parents  as they would have a better insight on the essence of teaching the child to gain mastery of the language of his/her environment This study will expose them to the knowledge that they should be the first people to impart knowledge to the child, especially concerning children’s language development.

The study will be significant to the academic community as it will contribute to the existing literature

1.6   Scope of the Study

This study will examine the attitude of  women in science and technology based jobs. The study will also find out if level of education influence women towards science and technology industry. The study will further investigate the extent at which gender influence society’s attitude towards women in science and technology industry. Finally, the study will assess whether parents level of income influences women towards science and technology industry. Hence the study is delimited to University of Ilorin, Kwara State.

1.7 Limitation of the study

Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. Insufficient funds tend to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire, and interview), which is why the researcher resorted to a moderate choice of sample size. More so, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.

1.8 Definition of terms

Science and technology: an interdisciplinary field that studies the conditions under which the production, distribution and utilization of scientific knowledge and technological systems occur