Doreen Anene and Stanley Anigbogu launched separate initiatives to promote science careers to young girls and women in Africa. What motivated them to do so?
Anene, a final-year animal-science PhD researcher at the University of Nottingham, UK, says her mother struggled to get a teaching job in Nigeria because she did not have a science background. Her experience inspired her to set up The STEM Belle, a non-profit organization in Nigeria.
“Growing up I had these stereotypes. ‘You’re going to end up in a man’s house. There’s really no need for you to stretch yourself because the end goal is to be married, right?’”
“My mother didn’t want her children to go through this so she started indoctrinating the benefits of science and her experience to us.”
Anigbogu, a storyteller and technologist, founded STEM4HER after meeting a young girl at a science fair. She told him that her mother thought that careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) were for boys, not for her.
“We discovered that girls in the rural areas were mostly affected by that societal mindset. Inventors are using science to solve global problems, but women are not in that space,” he says.
This is the fifth episode of an eight-part series on science in Africa, hosted by Nature Africa chief editor Akin Jimoh.