Ghana’s National Science and Maths Quiz Put Female Scientists on the map

Photo Source: ML-Vision 

Ghana’s National Science and Maths Quiz (NSMQ) is arguably the most-watched programme on national television with a nationwide engagement second only to a Black Stars’ football match.

Initiated in 1993 to promote the study of science and mathematics in Ghana, the NSMQ has also fostered a healthy rivalry among senior high schools in the country, generating a lot of excitement on social media in recent times.

Unfortunately, female representation at the finals of the competition had been non-existent for the past 8 years until Francisca Lamini shattered the glass ceiling at the 2021 National Science and Maths Quiz.

From the onset of the competition, the NSMQ has been hosted by women who have excelled in Science and Maths as a way to encourage female participation.

Late Professor Marian Ewurama Addy, the first quiz mistress and a professor of biochemistry at the University of Ghana, Legon, wrote in her memoir Rewards: “I was interested in females becoming scientists and this was the most effective way of being a role model”.

Late Professor Ewurama Addy (Photo source: Modern Ghana)

Together with her two male counterparts, Francisca Lamini’s school Keta Senior High Technical School in the Volta region placed third after fighting hard against rivals PRESEC Legon and Prempeh College.

Although her school did not walk away with the winning prize, her presence at the finals was celebrated by Ghanaians across the country when she was adjudged the best female contestant.

According to the United Nations, a significant gender gap has persisted throughout the years at all levels of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines all over the world.

Women and girls have significantly increased their participation in these male-dominated fields but are yet to bridge the yawning gap existing between them and their male counterparts.

As the World Celebrates the 7th International Day of Women and Girls in Science, Francisca Lamini and the remarkable hosts of Ghana’s NSMQ prove Maths and Science need not be a male-dominated field.

Gender equality (SDG5) and the empowerment of women and girls in STEM disciplines will help Africa’s growing economy and aid in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) on the continent.

By Matilda N. Dennis, DevGoals Africa.