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SOCIETY’S CURRENT ATTITUDE TOWARDS WOMEN IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY BASED ARTISAN JOBS AS A FACTOR IN MAINSTREAMING GIRLS INTO SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY MATHEMATICS EDUCATION (SMTE)
This had been an attempt to investigate the society’s current attitude towards women in science and technology based artisan jobs as a factor in mainstreaming girls into science and technology mathematics education. In carrying out this study, Questionnaire on Society’s Current Attitudes toward Women in Science and Technology Artisan Jobs was developed to collect necessary data. Data collected were analysed using simple percentage, mean, SD and T-test analytical tools. The results of the study show that people have negative attitude toward women in science and technology based artisan jobs; but the level of educational attainment and marital status do not influence the society’ attitude towards women in science and technology based artisan jobs. It is however, found that gender has a significant influence on society’s attitude towards women in science and technology based artisan jobs. It was recommended among others that government should organise special educational programmes, awareness and sensitization campaigns, seminars and conference at national, state and local government levels aimed at changing the negative attitude of the society towards women in science and technology based artisan jobs.
1.1 Background to the Study
Gender specification has become a major phenomenon in workplace in the recent time. Gender issues are embedded in and emanated from discrimination which remains pervasive in many aspect of life worldwide (Maduewesi, 2005). Women perceive that they are often sexually discriminated against when deciding who receives a job, promotion or other employment benefits. Nwana (2007) and Maduabun as cited in Okeke (2000) were of the view that female are grossly underrepresented in the field of Science, Technology and Mathematics in Nigeria.
Hornby (2004) defines woman as an adult female human being. While Esan (2013), sees a woman as a female who has developed in age, knowledge and experience over a period of time. However, society has placed the role of second fiddle on women in the recent time. According to Streisand (2000), men are allowed to have passion and commitment for their work…. a woman is allowed that feeling for a man, but not for her work
Gender stereotype is a tendency to have a fixed set of ideas about the roles, attributes or characteristics of a particular set of persons, which is often wrongly generalized to be true in all cases. Kanno (2003) feels that it could be a fixed belief on issues or a mode of life. In another perspective, he defines stereotypes as the process of attributing certain factors or traits positively or otherwise to a particular group of individuals. Wilde (2007) sees women as decorative sex, yet women have excelled in every works of life.
However, Gabe (2000) opined that men decided a few centuries ago that any job they found repulsive was ‘‘women’s work’’ and that jobs that requires thinking, technology and science should be reserved for men. Science and technology based artisan jobs fall into the category that the society seems to have tagged as “men’s job”. Consequently there are very few women in science and technology occupations. Women employment is heavily concentrated on a few occupations where they work in homes or in the farms as helpers, as nurses, as care givers, as teachers and as computer assistance.
According to Okeke (2009), numerous socio-cultural and school based factors have combined to lower women’s interest in Science, Technology and Mathematics education and then hinder their full participation. It is widely believed that boys and men are naturally better than girls and women in science and technology. This belief has a negative impact on female participation in both science and technology artisan jobs. She is also of the opinion that an employer or buyer of a service will prefer to hire a male artisan rather than a female counterpart due to her productivity.
Women‘s full participation in science and technology artisan jobs is an economic imperative, because according to Nyerere as cited in Ogunjobi (2008) ‘‘no one can walk far or fast with only one leg’’. According to Ogunjobi (2008), women constitute about 51% of the Nigerian population, therefore it is not possible to ignore or neglect their scientific potentials, if the nation is to achieve a sustainable economic development and also achieve the millennium development goals.
Therefore, the importance of women engaging in science and technology based artisan jobs cannot be over emphasized. it will not only reduce unemployment, it will empower the women and also contribute to national economic growth. Nnaka (2005) contends that after acquiring skills and training in science and technology, women are less likely to be timid or easily intimidated. Crime will also be reduced because women who are industrious are not likely to be involved in prostitution.
In several African countries, the number of young people opting for science studies is declining and there is a shortage of scientists and engineers in the labour market that the ageing population will exacerbate (Opaluwah, 2007). Young people’s motivation is of major importance in increasing the number of students taking science courses; adequate information and scientific literacy are also key factors. School children’s views of science are formed at a very early age (usually at primary school level) and these can have a positive or negative impact on attitudes to science and technology mathematics education.
Nigerian women access to work, especially in science and technology based field is still being constrained due to their unfair workload within the household division of labour. Consequently, the realization of the millennium development goals on gender equality and women empowerment targets is being impeded vacuously (Opaluwah, 2007).
Perhaps, the greatest social barrier militating against women’s entry into science and technology based artisan jobs is the society attitude. Many occupational restrictions placed on women’s ambition and inspirations are directly related to some long standing myths embedded in the physiological differences between the sexes. For example, it is generally believed that women in science and technology based artisan jobs lose their feminine characteristics such as passivity, emotionality, intuition and receptivity. Onuebunwa (2008) however, observed that this situation will still prevail hence, Nigerian women have to fight against an oppressive socio-cultural religious, illiterate and outright discrimination in certain occupation in order to earn their living as they are being distracted from science and technology based artisan jobs through social and cultural beliefs.
It is against this background that this study examines the society’s current attitude towards women in science and technology based artisan jobs as a factor in mainstreaming girls into Science and Technology Mathematics Education (SMTE) in Lagos State.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Mainstreaming girls into science technology and mathematical education has been improving gradually in Nigeria education. This is evident in the number of girls who seek admission into universities in this field yearly. However, girls who are involved in male dominated jobs are often looked down upon by some people. This is as a result of the role that the society placed on gender specification as regards jobs.
The researcher also notices that fewer women are involved in science and technology based artisan job in this part of the world than other developed countries and feels that a similar trend among girls in science and mathematics education, he then decided to find out if there is any relationship between the patterns.
Several studies have been conducted towards women participation in science and technology, but not much have been drawn toward mainstreaming girls into science technology and mathematical education. It is on this basis that the researcher deemed it fit to investigate the society’s current attitude towards women in science and technology based jobs as a factor in mainstreaming girls into STM education.
Specific development policies aimed at women’s education in science and technology and also fairness in job participation have been largely ineffective in the country. Unhealthy state controlled developmentalism has indeed help to erode independent feminist initiative ever geared towards women emancipation in our society (Tsikata, 2007).
Gender difference in science and technology enrollments, achievement and employment worldwide has been established (Azuogu, 1990 and Nepa, 2008). It is evident that women have performed very well in science yet many women do not chose science and technology based artisan jobs as their careers. Women are also aware of the contributions of science and technology to the overall development of the nation, yet they do not engage in science and technology based artisan jobs as their male counterpart do. Therefore, the present study sought to investigate the society’s current attitude towards women in science and technology based artisan jobs as a factor in mainstreaming girls into science technology and mathematics education.
1.3 Purpose of the study
The general purpose of this study is to investigate the society’s current attitude towards women in science and technology based artisan jobs as a factor in mainstreaming girls into science and technology mathematics education. To achieve this, the researcher aims at:
1.4 Research Questions
The study was guided by the following research questions:
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following hypotheses guided the study:
1.6 Significance of Study
The finding of this study should be taking as positive contribution to the girls’ education in helping the government to make development policies. The study would also encourage the parents in guiding their girls into science and technology based jobs. As whatever is a sauce for a gander is also a sauce for a goose.
Various educational institutions like secondary schools and tertiary institution would also use this study as an avenue to mainstream girls into science and technology fields so as to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This study explores the definitions of major concepts and findings as given by notable authorities in the field. It tries to find out the society’s attitude toward women in science and technology based artisan jobs. It also tries to find out the relationship between the society’s attitude towards women in science based artisan jobs and enrollment of girls into science and technology mathematics education. The study covers both male and female parents of students in secondary schools under Education District IV of Lagos state.
1.8 Limitation of Study
This study could only cover some parts of Lagos state as a result of time and financial constraints.
1.9 Definition of Terms
Gender: socially determined roles and relations between male and female
Gender specification: preferring one gender to another
Discrimination: segregating one sex to another
Artisan: those who have skills in using their hands for scientific manipulations and creativity
Entry: going into
Mainstreaming: bringing someone into a fold
Underrepresented: not many of fully represented
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