Prof. Marian D. Quain, Deputy Director-General, Council for Scientific  and Industrial Research
Prof. Marian D. Quain, Deputy Director-General, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research

Stop attaching gender to fields of study - Prof. Marian Quain

Ghanaian families must stop attaching gender to fields of study, particularly science, the Deputy Director-General of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Prof. Marian D. Quain, has advised.

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She explained that comments about particular kinds of work being the preserve of a particular gender tended to limit people, especially the girl-child regarding their career choices, and it was important that people were allowed to feel free to move onto whichever field of study they wanted.

“As a country, we need to take a second look at the culture of attaching gender to a field of study. If a man wants to be a nurse, you don’t have to restrict him and say, as for a man, you have to be a pharmacist or a doctor and that it’s women who have to be nurses. Let people feel free to move into whichever field of study they want,” she advised.

Prof. Quain, who was appointed earlier this year into her current position, was speaking to the Daily Graphic about her new position and how the gender factor impacted her career path, said it was as a result of such comments that Ghanaian women were now being downgraded. 

She said women and girls should also not allow the negative comments people make about careers they want to pursue to deter them from pursuing their dreams. 

The renowned biotechnologist with expertise in tissue culture said attention should also be paid to the challenges people might go through in their career path and solutions preferred to address them.

For instance, she said, the girl-child might miss classes because of her menstruation, for which reason she might fall on a male classmate to help her recover the lessons lost. However, that might cause her to fall prey to them in the process.

She also called for another look at career counselling programmes for students, explaining that some students did not have any knowledge about the career paths they wanted to pursue and their parents might also be limited in providing the requisite guidance for the child.

On encouraging more females to take up fields in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), the renowned chief research scientist in biotechnology said the country had not done enough to encourage girls to take STEM fields.

She, therefore, called on the country to go back to the master plan Dr Kwame Nkrumah had for science, technology and innovation as the bottom line for industrialisation.

“We have not dedicated funds and we have not dedicated attention. We have limited ourselves to importation and utilisation – buying and selling. But if we pay attention to STEM, it will place us on another scale as a country,” she pointed out.

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