Today, Thursday, February 11, 2021, is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.
The United Nations General Assembly decided on December 22, 2015, that a yearly commemoration was required in recognition of the pivotal role women and girls play in science and technology.
Now in its sixth year, the International Day of Women and Girls in Science annual celebration is geared at promoting full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls.
Fittingly, the theme for this year’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2021 is ‘ Women Scientists at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19’. What’s the rationale behind this apt subject matter?
To hear the UN tell it, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has once again stressed the need and importance of women scientists as women have been actively involved in researching the Coronavirus, developing techniques for testing the virus not to mention creating vaccines against it.
Despite the contributions of women in science, study still shows that less than 30% of researchers globally are female. Clearly, women are underrepresented in the field, yet they keep forging ahead.
To join in celebrating these amazing women, we showcase four remarkable African women doing amazing stuff in STEM.
Professor Francisca Nneka Okeke
Professor Francisca Nneka Okeke is a Nigerian Physicist at the University of Nigeria. As the first female head of the university’s faculty of physical science, she’s an advocate of women and girls’ inclusion in science and technology.
For her immense research and outstanding contributions in Physics and Astronomy, she was awarded the L’Oreal-UNESCO for Women in Science Award in 2013.
Sibongile Mongadi is the Founder of Uku’hamba, a South African startup that focuses on biotechnology and healthcare manufacturing.
Leveraging 3D technology, she is committed to developing prosthetic limbs that can be made cheaply and manufactured widely.
During the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa, Mongadi rose to the occasion, steering her company towards manufacturing safety equipment for frontline workers.
Dr. Augustina Angelina Sylverken
Dr. Augustina Angelina Sylverken is an experienced Research Scientist in Clinical Research, Epidemiology, Life Sciences, Laboratory Skills, and Infectious Diseases.
Currently, she’s engaged in a German Research Foundation (DFG) BAT project that is using wildlife, human interaction and livestock to study the transmission interface of several viruses with focus on Coronavirus.
Professor Ngalula Sandrine Mubenga
Professor Ngalula Sandrine Mubenga is a Congolese engineer, Founder and President of STEM DRC Initiative, a nonprofit corporation that promotes STEM.
A seasoned Electrical Engineer with expertise in renewable energy, she’s currently a professor at the University of Toledo, Ohio. In 2018, Prof. Sandrine Mubenga won the Engineer of the Year Award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineer (IEEE) Toledo Section, USA.