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  • Updated: February 11, 2022

International Day Of Women And Girls In Science: Five Nigerians Who Have Proven Their Competence In Science

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Deborah  Oyewole
Deborah Oyewole

A graduate of English with a passion for writing and editing. Ardent researcher and meticulous learn...

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It’s another February 11 that the United Nations (UN) has set aside to celebrate and empower women and girls who have thrived in the science field over the years. It is also another opportunity to celebrate Nigerian women in the male-dominated science field.

Gender inequality remains a major global problem as the female gender is consistently left out in specific spaces and fields that matter.

Although there seems to be little improvement, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) related fields are some of the most unnecessarily male-dominated, with the female gender unduly under-represented no matter how much they develop themselves to fit in. 

To correct this ill, thereby giving impartial access to women in Science and consequently promoting gender equality, the UN in 2015 pronounced February 11 of every year as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

The theme of the 7th year celebration of this day ‘Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: Water Unites Us’ combines the empowerment of women and girls in science in a bid to make progress in the 6th sustainable Development Goal (Clean Water and Sanitation) with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Nigerian women are not left out in the gender discrimination issue in the science field, especially as a result of cultural beliefs that has reserved some fields for men.

Interestingly, in recent times, women in Nigeria are coming out of their shells to prove their competence even more than their male counterparts.

Five Nigerian women who have proven themselves worthy of being in the science field are as follows:

Francisca Nneka Okeke

Francisca Okeke is a 2013 L’Oréal-UNESCO Laureate for Women in physical sciences. She is the former Director of the Africa Climate Change Adaptation Initiative and current Director of the Institute of Climate Change Studies, Energy and Environment.

Francisca Okeke

Francisca is a Nigerian Professor of Physics, the first female Head of Department, Physics and Astronomy (2003-2006), and Dean, Faculty of Physical Sciences (2008-2010) at the University of Nigeria Nsukka.

She boasts of publishing over 120 papers in respectable journals, writing 15 books and some articles. Francisca Okeke has mentored a good number of female scientists and she believes once a woman is qualified, nothing should stop her.

Eucharia Oluchi Nwaichi 

Eucharia Nwaichi is an environmental biochemist and toxicologist. A Senior Lecturer in the Department of Biochemistry, University of Portharcourt, Nwaichi is an expert in eliminating heavy metals from contaminated soil. 

Eucharia Nwaichi 

She was in 2013 awarded the L’Oreal-UNESCO award, recognised for her research on ‘Scientific Solution to Environmental Pollution. She is affiliated with organizations such as Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World, the International Society for Environmental Technology and the American Chemical Society among others.

Eucharia is the Director of the Exchange and Linkage Programmes Unit at the University of Port Harcourt. She has published and made a good number of paper presentations at conferences and symposia within and outside Nigeria.

Olanike Kudirat Adeyemo

Olanike Adeyemo was the first Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research, Innovation and Strategic Partnership and is an Associate professor of Veterinary Public Health and Preventive Medicine at the University of Ibadan. She was also the first female veterinarian to be inducted into the African Academy of Sciences and the Nigerian Academy of Science.

Olanike Adeyemo

Olanike has contributed so much to the unpopulated field of Aquatic Epidemiology and Toxicology) which has earned her awards and recognitions including an award by the Society for Toxicology, USA. She is a Fellow of Leadership and Development (LEAD), International, UK.

She is the current sub-dean (postgraduate) of the University of Ibadan. In her words, she thrives by learning from her mistakes rather than dwelling on them.

Adeyinka Gladys Falusi

Adeyinka Falusi is a 2001 L'Oreal-UNESCO Laureate Outstanding Woman of Science for Africa and the Mediterranean countries. She is a Nigerian professor of Haematology and a former Director of the Institute for Advanced Medical Research and Training, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan.

Adeyinka Falusi

Falusi specialises in human genetics, bioethics and molecular genetics related to genetic blood diseases. Her love for science dates back to her high school days when she conducted experiments outside school hours which she was punished for. The experiments she carried out using the latest molecular biology techniques resulted in the new findings of Alpha thalassemia in Nigerians.

She organized the publication of “What You Need to Know About Sickle Cell Diseases” through the Sickle Cell Association of Nigeria (SCAN). She co-chairs a sickle cell foundation known as Sickle Cell Hope Alive Foundation.

Taiwo Olayemi Elufioye

Taiwo Elufioye is a Nigerian pharmacologist from the Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ibadan. She is a Fulbright Scholar at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. Her research dwells on the medicinal properties of native Nigerian plants and has looked into the effectiveness of these plants in the treatment of malaria, memory loss, and cancer.

Taiwo Elufioye

Taiwo won the Elsevier Foundation Awards for Early Career Women Scientists in the Developing World in 2014.

Her works have been published in journals such as the African Journal of Tradition, African Journal of Biomedical Research and Complementary and Alternative Medicines among others.



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Deborah  Oyewole
Deborah Oyewole

A graduate of English with a passion for writing and editing. Ardent researcher and meticulous learn...

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