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Hard work, Networking, Others Propel Female Engineers to Success – Seasoned Engineer

An accomplished female engineer, Engr. (Mrs) Margaret Oguntala, has urged female engineering students at Covenant University not to see their gender as an impediment to success in their chosen career. See yourself more as a professional than a woman and relate with your peers professionally, she advised.

Oguntala, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Bamsat Nigeria Limited and three-term Vice-President of the Nigeria Society of Engineers, gave the advice on Wednesday, May 26, 2021, at the maiden college-wide Town and Gown Seminar of the College of Engineering, Covenant University, where she was Guest Speaker.

Engr. Oguntala, who represents the South-west geopolitical zone in the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria, delivered a lecture titled “Gender Equality in Engineering Practice: Networking, Resource Sharing and Capacity Building”. She said that by studying engineering, the students had not found themselves in the wrong profession. “Engineering education teaches you how to handle what you don’t know; you can upgrade it through the continuing professional development,” she stated.

Engr. Oguntala emphasized that education was key to success and advised the students to imbibe networking, which was a significant part of building a successful and sustainable career in any field. She explained that professional partnerships, in most cases, started from networking and could grow into more productive relationships, often leading to collaborations. According to her, professionals, lecturers, classmates, and people encountered during extra-curricular activities were people the students could network with. She stated that industrial training, excursions, engineering and technology websites, and social media were platforms through which the students could network.

The Guest Speaker, who described gender equality as a prerequisite for sustainable and peaceful development, said it was achieved when women, men, girls and boys had equal rights, conditions, opportunities and the power to shape their own lives and contribute to the development of the society. She pointed out that all forms of violence against women and girls affected both the individual and the society as a whole and were inimical to gender equality and development.

She buttressed her point by stating Goal 5 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, which calls for reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources and ownership, control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources national laws.

On ways to foster gender equality in engineering practice, Engr. Oguntala canvassed the encouragement of more girls to break social and cultural barriers by studying engineering, make the work environment more conducive for women, and lead by example in the field. She argued that while female engineers may still be the minority in the area, many women had become very successful in the industry. These women, she added, were breaking stereotypes and showing others that engineers could succeed in the field, no matter their gender.

She urged the budding female engineers to work on their self-development, build the right mindset, join the professional bodies in their chosen career, and make the most of their professional membership.

In his remarks, the Dean, College of Engineering, Professor David Omole, expressed his appreciation to Engr. Oguntala for what he described as a wonderful lecture. While stating that the lecture topic was an important discussion, Professor Omole said that people had silenced the female voice in generations past. He recalled that the female child had been denied education in some homes for her gender.

“You never know the resources you are throwing away when you silenced the female voice; it’s like killing 50% of yourself. The female is a valuable asset in any society. The females have a bigger assignment; don’t underestimate yourself. And to the males, never throw away that treasure that is there to add value to us,” the Dean warned.

Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Head, Department of Civil Engineering, Professor Anthony Ede, on behalf of the Dean, appreciated the Guest Speaker for taking time out of her busy schedule to honour Covenant University’s invitation. He said the college-wide Town and Gown Seminar was yet another novel initiative by the college, which he hoped would stand the test of time.

Professor Ede urged the students to pay close attention to the Guest Speaker as she was there to share her experience trying to succeed in her career as a female engineer.

Also present at the seminar event that featured physical and virtual participation were senior Professors, faculty and staff from all the Departments in the College of Engineering, colleagues and associates of the Guest Lecturer, amongst others.


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