INTERNATIONAL UNION OF PURE & APPLIED CHEMISTRY (IUPAC) GLOBAL WOMEN'S BREAKFAST MEETING: DEFINING THE ROLE OF CHEMISTRY IN FOOD SECURITY
Women in Chemistry (WIC) under the auspicies of Benue State Chapter of Chemical Society of Nigeria recently organised a Global Women breakfast meeting at the University's World Bank Centre for Food Technology and Research GRA Makurdi on the theme, The role of Chemistry in Food security.
Declaring the occasion opened, President Chemical Society of Nigeria, Professor Moses Mkem Uchendo revealed that women have contributed to the development of chemical sciences since the age of Alchemy but have unfortunately remained unseen and unheard for centuries.
Prof. Uchendo who was represented by the Chairman Benue State Chapter of Chemical Society of Nigeria Dr. Barnabas Aloo said according to UNESCO, less than 30% of World Researchers are women and lamented why untill now, major gender desparities between male and female Research scientists are still evident in places of work and at their levels of responsibility.
One of the lead presenters at the breakfast meeting, himself the Deputy Vice Chancellor Academics Benue State University Makurdi, Professor Simon Terver Ubwa in his paper emphasized that complete equality between men and women is the only way our Society can develop and progress.
Expatiating further on the topic, Effective Chemical Techniques in food preservation, Prof Ubwa explained that in the 19th century, the chemical industry was traditionally considered an exclusive male environment but today many women have excellently led the chemistry sector and turned it around towards achieving sustainable development goals therefore women should be encouraged.
Also presenting a paper on Development of leadership skills in male dominated environment, Professor John Igoli, stressed the need for the recognition that, every researcher and laboratory has their own strengths and weaknesses therefore, all collaborators should exhibit flexibility and willingness to compromise at some point in the cause of their research endeavours if significant progress is to be made.
Delivering a paper on the topic, health and wellbeing, Dr. Rose Kukwa of the Department of Chemistry, Benue State University Makurdi explained that physical and mental wellness allow us to function at our optimal potentials thus should be taken seriously. She stressed that if health and wellbeing are lacking, everything else in life becomes difficult and annoyingly less rewarding.
Earlier, the Benue state University Coordinator of Women in Chemistry, Professor Ogbene Igbum appreciated facilitators and participants for gracing the meeting. She particularly appreciated Professor Tor Joe Iorapuu, Vice Chancellor Benue State University Makurdi for his support and the Deputy Vice Chancellor Academics for the technical support that birthed the meeting.
Prof. Igbum also thanked leadership of CEFTER for graciously approving and making available their hall and other resources for the meeting.
Professor Ogbene expressed hope that the breakfast meeting would woo more women to pick up career and other active roles in chemistry as a result of the breakfast meeting.
She explained that the ultimate idea behind the meeting was to embolden the few women in chemistry already feeling weak with the courage to rise and champion ground breaking researches in chemistry towards the attainment of food security.
In his welcome address at the meeting, CEFTER Centre Leader Dr Barnabas Ikyo said the theme of this year's Global Women's breakfast meeting attracted his attention particularly because it relates to the mandate of CEFTER which is anchored on the control of Post harvest losses in West and Central Africa.
Dr. Ikyo expressed the readiness of CEFTER to partner with women in chemistry and the Chemical Society of Nigeria in the area of research as it relates to food security and the control of post harvest losses.
The Centre Leader wished participants well and called on them to feel at home at the centre premises assuring them of CEFTER'S hospitality, support and partnership. Highlights of the occasion were presentations from Global coordinators of women in chemistry in USA, UK and other countries via zoom. There were group photographs, light music and relishing refreshments for both participants and facilitators.