International Women’s Day is a global day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women worldwide, while also recognising the challenges that women continue to face in their daily lives.
As part of the celebration this year, Sandvik Mining and Construction Ghana Limited decided to collaborate with the Women in Engineering, KNUST Chapter, to engage with females in the Engineering department to inspire and motivate them to persevere in traditionally male-dominated careers and industries.
The event saw a panel discussion that featured five of Sandvik’s female engineers together with two female technology and sustainability academics which was moderated by Enyo Dei-Tutu, the Human Resource Manager- West Africa.
This year’s International Women’s Day theme: #Embrace Equity and the United Nations theme of “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality highlight the importance of leveraging technology and innovation to promote gender equality and empower women.
Dr. Nana Aidutwim Mensah, Finance Manager (West Africa) in a speech delivered on behalf of the Vice President of Sandvik West Africa, Nuhu Salifu reiterated that Sandvik believes that women have a key role to play in the growth of the company’s business.
He stated that the company has made progress by increasing female representation from less than 10% to 15% in the last 4 years in West Africa.
“While the company strives to be a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace, Sandvik recognizes that women continue to be underrepresented in our business and in the mining industry Hence the company, is committed to changing this narrative by actively searching for female candidates for our vacancies, creating an environment that supports females to achieve their fullest potential and supporting the wellbeing of our female employees,” he said.
He however advised the young female engineering students to take up certain skill sets to fully take advantage of the opportunity.
“As a company, Sandvik recognises that technology plays a critical role in promoting gender equality within companies and society. Hence, Sandvik as a high-tech engineering company and not just an equipment manufacturer has developed remote monitoring and automation systems that can help to improve the safety and efficiency of our equipment while also enabling women to work in remote and challenging environments. This changes the dynamics of underground mining where it has always been the domain for men. However, for you to be able to benefit from these opportunities as a woman, you need to work at building strong data analytics, computer, and analytical and communication skills. The future of mining is changing, and women have a huge opportunity to be part of this change,” he was optimistic.
Madina Salifu, a Workshop Technician at Sandvik Ghana entreated the ladies to be confident focused, and brave in their chosen field.
“Three takeaways from the panel discussions and from the speech by the Vice President for Sandvik West Africa to the female looking to build a career in STEM – Engineering were to: Build competence – this is what will set you apart from others. Use the opportunities and resources available online to develop yourself. One panel member shared how she taught herself to programme online. Challenge stereotypes – don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t succeed in engineering because of your gender. You have the talent, skills, and determination to overcome any obstacle and achieve your goals. Be brave – do not be intimidated by setbacks or because you are the only woman in the room. Be results focused and be the inspiration and role model for the generation after you!
On behalf of the Vice Chancellor of the KNUST, Professor Mrs. Rita Akosua Dickson, the Deputy Director of Students Affairs, Professor Marian Nkansah, who chaired the event, lauded the organizers for choosing KNUST and called for more of such collaborations.
“Women empowerment is one of the priorities of our VC,” she said.
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