African Women in Science and Engineering (AWSE) is an organization that seeks to increase the numbers of competent women scientists and engineers within Africa. AWSE determines to do this through various programs, spanning high schools through to the career scientist and engineer. AWSE draws its membership from all over Africa.
Women make up over 50% of the population of Africa and form the majority of the work force in most countries. However, the number of women in science and engineering is still pathetically low, that is, below 20%. This number reduces further in leadership positions and graduate levels of education. The presence of women in science and technology careers is essential in the innovative and disruptive endeared market. Apart from opening up the economy to the mostly unconsidered sector of the market, the presence of women in these careers would ensure participation of the half of the population towards tackling the challenges of Africa such as unemployment, health and poverty. Unless women are encouraged to pursue science-oriented disciplines, Africa will still lag behind other developing regions in terms of education, research and technology since science can solve many economic, ecological and health problems faced by Africa.
AWSE, therefore, seeks to create a critical mass of African women scientists and engineers through various empowerment programs and to highlight and enhance their contributions in research, education and the development of the continent.
African Women in Science and Engineering was inaugurated in 1999 at ICRAF, Nairobi Kenya during a meeting designed to bring together women in all fields of science and engineering from all over Africa in order to make African women scientists conspicuous and conscious of what their counter parts were doing and to enhance collaborations between the women scientists. Since then, the activities of the organization have been tailored to achieve this goal.