Dr. Hilla Liman Technical University (DHLTU) has launched a gender and diversity center in its quest to address various diversity gaps at the school.
The issues set to be addressed include equitable representation of gender, identity, equality and equality among members of the university community to sexual harassment experienced by both staff and students of the university.
The center will also among other things provide leadership on all diversity issues within the school, and advocate internally and externally to the university community on diversity issues.
It is also aimed at managing the collection and dissemination of information about diversity issues.
It will as well partner external development agencies to maximize the understanding of diversity issues in a bid to address issues relating to inadequate support for women who are trying to combine their secular and professional lives.
The center will also provide a safe space for students and staff to go and be supported in issues relating to diversity.
The Vice Chancellor of the DHLTU, Prof. Elais K. N. Sowley, in his welcome address said promoting diversity is a top strategic priority of the school as management have seen the importance of equity and inclusion at the university.
He explained that the launch of the Gender and Diversity center is part of a wide range of initiatives by the school to make it a world-class university.
Prof. Sowley further opined that “the launch will serve as a major springboard to the realization of the vision of creating a safe space in the institution“.
While pledging his full support to the center, the Vice Chancellor assured “we would set ourselves achievable targets in respect of increasing the representation of women on our important boards, enrollment of female students in STEM programmes. And create a disability-friendly environment as part of a wide range of initiatives to improve diversity in our recruitment and development“.
The Director of the Gender and diversity center at the Dr. Hilla Liman Technical University, Ass. Prof. Hamidatu Darimani expressed concerns over key gender/diversity issues at the school.
She cited low female enrolment, especially in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programmes, unfriendly environment for differently able people, and negative culture.
She bemoaned the customary practices, ethnicity among students and staff, abuse of female students as well as disproportionate representation of female students in leadership positions as key issues that must be addressed.
“The center would support management to address these key issues. We would ensure specific activities be taken such as curriculum development and the development of policies such as anti-sexual harassment policy, gender and diversity policy, records management and many more,” Dr. Darimani stated.
She said her team is committed to ensuring that Dr. Hilla Liman Technical University is recognized as a university of choice.