The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, NCDMB, has cited inadequate Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education of girls as a cause of low female participation in the oil and gas sector. The Executive Secretary, NCDMB, Simbi Wabote disclosed this in an online stakeholders meeting organized by Diversity Sectorial Working Group (SWG), Nigerian Content Consultative Forum (NCCF).
Wabote said:”Now people will argue to say after all lawyers are in the oil and gas sector, accountants are in the oil and gas sector, why are you not looking at those areas? Those areas are not a challenge to Nigeria, the challenge to Nigeria is in the STEM education area which is the science area, mathematics, physics, engineering, that is where we are lacking. “If we want to fill the talents and meet the percentages that Alero flashed to us, then we must go to the grassroots and see how we encourage that, if not, once the older ones are through, we come back to the same number.
“For us in NCDMB, our focus for now is oil and gas. How do we really focus to harness the benefit of oil and gas in Nigeria in order to take advantage of it.” Chairperson, Diversity SWG, NCCF, Mrs Alero Onosode noted that the DSWG of NCCF was formed to ensure the participation of various groups in the oil and gas sector inorder to harness the sector’s benefits.
She pointed out four pillars of the Diversity Working Group comprising research,policy advocacy, capacity development and network and stakeholders engagement. Onosode also noted that there are three buckets that needs to be filled to drive the diversity working group in the sector.
Wabote, expansiating on the buckets, said: ”The first bucket is asking ourselves the question who are those people working in the oil and gas sector as far as women folks are concerned? Where are they? How can we help to intervene in the sector that they are working in, in order that the affirmative action will work? So the first question is ,”Where are those people? How do we identify them? What else can we do in terms of policy, advocacy and drive to get them to occupy those positions that we want?
“The second bucket that the intent of setting up the NCCF wants to look at is “Where are those women who are business owners and are providing services for the service sector or upstream sector in the oil and gas space that we need to support in order that they have opportunity in order to grow their businesses without necessarily continuously being under the shadow of the men as such.
“Then the third bucket of what we are looking at is to say how do we then bring up pallets to fill these two buckets in terms of where we want to go and that is what we want to do and hence we extend our influence into tertiary institutions in order to encourage women to take on courses that will help them participate in the oil and gas sector.”