Zambia, like many other countries, has made efforts to encourage and support women’s participation in engineering and other STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields, in collaboration with institutions such as the Engineering Institution of Zambia (EIZ). While significant progress has been made in recent years, gender stereotypes still persist and can influence various aspects of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), including education, career choices, workplace dynamics, and societal perceptions.

Girls in schools have continued to have less interest in STEM subjects compared to boys. This stereotype discourages girls from developing an interest in STEM at an early age or pursuing further studies or careers in these fields. At the same time, women who are already in the field continue to face unique challenges and barriers, such as gender stereotypes and limited access to professional growth opportunities that have demotivated them to practice in this fields resulting in low retention of female STEM experts.

It is for this reason that the Zambia Women in Engineering Section (ZWES), a section of the Engineering Institution of Zambia (EIZ), was formed in 2016 to promote the active participation of women in engineering and related fields. ZWES aims to foster gender equality, support professional development, and empower women to contribute significantly to sustainable development.

WOMENVAI (WOmen and Men in ENVironment and Artificial Intelligence) an international organization, seeks to advocate the interests of women in STEM globally by strengthening their roles in society in a sustainable and inclusive manner, leveraging diversity to develop new synergies. The goal is to promote sustainable development, environmental issues, and international cooperation among women engineers and scientists. Further, its aim to promote a balanced and modern lifestyle that values professional equality for both genders.

Objective of the workshop

ZWES, in collaboration with WOMENVAI, will hold a workshop for young girls and boys aged 10-12 years to commemorate International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) 2024.

This year, the INWED 2024 theme is “Enhanced by Engineering”.

This theme aims at showcasing remarkable contributions from female Engineering Professionals across the world. It is incredible to see the profound contributions of Women in Engineering in all aspects in engineering. With less than 15% of women practicing engineering in Africa, many success stories and names have made history and known worldwide for excelling and making Africa more sustainable through engineering.

The objective of this workshop is to raise awareness of gender stereotypes in STEM* careers (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). It will be in two sessions as follows:

  1. The first session’s goal is to break down gender stereotypes associated with technical careers by explaining to children what women engineers or technicians do on a daily basis at work and therefore serving as role models for the younger generation. This is to demonstrate learners that gender does not define technical competence; they should be aware that women have made substantial contributions to technical fields throughout history, and there are many successful women working in these professions now.
  2. The second session focuses on introducing the children to engineering by having them complete an activity in electrical circuit assembly. The children will work in a mixed team of four, with each person assigned a task and given simple technical instructions. Thus introducing them to STEM, eliminating the stereotype that assumes that women are inherently less talented or interested in math and science subjects, which are prerequisites for technical courses. Additionally, this will improve their problem-solving and critical thinking skills while also encouraging creativity, innovation and teamwork.

Details of the Workshop

The proposed program will be at Nchanga Trust School for grade 5 and 6 children aged 10 to 12 years.

Date: 20th June 2024

TIME: 10:00hrs to 12:00hrs

ATTENDANCE: EIZ officials, ZWES members, Sponsors and Partners 

GRADE 5 & 6 CLASSES: 60 Pupils and Class Teachers

TOTAL: 100 Attendants