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Monday, May 20, 2024

eBusiness Life Girls in ICT: Corporates charge girls on future careers - ITREALMS

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Growing girls in the country have been charged to prepare themselves for future careers that will be premised on the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) knowledge and expertise, reports 
eBusiness Life Girls in ICT: Corporates charge girls on future careers - ITREALMS
Speaking at the International Girls in ICT event organised by eBusiness Life Communications Limited last Thursday, corporate organisations that gathered for the 12th edition of the year long campaign spoke on diverse expectations from the young girls, and how to position them for bridge the gender gap in the ICT career field.

In his keynote address at the event, the Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Aminu Maida, who was represented by the Deputy Director, Head Corporate Communication, NCC, Nnenna Ukoha, noted that there is a need to provide girls with quality STEM education as a means of bridging the gender divide, while also challenging the gender stereotype; and provide positive role models for young girls to look up to.

Quoting the Global Gender Gap Report (2023), which states that women comprised  29.2% of STEM workforce in 146 nations evaluated, compared to nearly 50% on non-STEM occupations, Dr. Maida lamented the “underrepresentation of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

“As we look around us, we witness the impactful influence of technology in all facets of our existence. Technology, from communications to healthcare, education to entertainment, has emerged as the primary catalyst for advancement and growth. Nonetheless, despite the significant progress we have achieved, there is a noticeable gender gap in the ICT sector.”

Referencing the 2024 theme, Leadership’’, Convener, Girls-In-ICT/CEO, e-Business Life Communication Limited, Mrs. Ufuoma Emuophedaro, noted: “While there is a leadership gender gap in every industry, the largest gaps are found in the STEM fields. Women in ICT often find themselves in junior or support roles rather than in managerial roles, with little opportunity for advancement. They are also less likely to hold an executive position, become ICT entrepreneurs, or be represented among science and technology policymakers.

She noted that ICT holds limitless possibilities, especially for women. “It is a realm where creativity knows no bounds, innovation thrives, and dreams are transformed into reality through lines of code and digital solutions. Yet, despite its vast potential, the representation of women in this field remains disproportionately low.

Today, we challenge that narrative. We stand united to break down barriers, defy stereotypes, and pave the way for a future where every girl, regardless of background or circumstance, feels empowered to pursue her passion for technology.”

Young women and girls need to see themselves as change-makers in the field, and they need to be able to see clear routes to become leaders in the field.”

In a virtual message from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the Secretary General, Doreen Bogdan-Martin explained that the 2024 theme, “Leadership”, speaks to more than holding a job title or position of power, but about harnessing the power of ideas and innovation, and the ability to navigate change with confidence even as a student.

She said that as the world continues to experience tremendous unprecedented digital transformation with the rise of Artificial Intelligence and other emerging technologies, it cannot afford to leave girls and women, which represent 50%, behind.

“It is high time to turn all this around. To all the young girls out there, the tech sector needs you. Your ideas, creativity, and perspectives are essential if gender equality will become a reality. We need you to step into leading roles to challenge the stereotypes, and to contribute to building a better future that benefits everyone.”

Head of Contact Center, Globacom Limited, Kemi Fadipe noted that the event not only pursues individual development, but also crucial for fostering gender equality and societal progress. She charged the students to get more serious with excellence in STEM subjects to excel in male dominated fields. She encouraged them on critical thinking and problem solving, which is essential in addressing complex challenges and driving innovation, among other things that make up good leadership, including truthfulness, resilience, objectivity, inspiring, sense of purpose, strategic thinking, integrity, honesty and ethical behavior.

Deputy Managing Director/COO, VDT Communications, Bimbo Ikumariegbe, while charging the girls to be focused in their choice, as making the wrong choice of online may ruin them and foil their chances of becoming great leaders. “Look to the future and ask yourself ‘can I get there?’”

In her submission, the Business Development Manager at inq Digital, Sandra Nwaigwe, encouraged the young girls to start building up themselves for the future. According to her: “As young people, you need to find your best feet in ICT so that when the time comes you will be able to raise your head so high like the women that have done great things.”

Awards were also given to deserving corporate and individuals that have distinguished themselves in grooming young girls and helping them to upskill.

The reciepients were the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA); Digital Strategist & Founder, MissTechy - Nigeria's Female Tech Blog, Ayeni Oluwatobi Dorcas, also known professionally as Miss Techy; and Head of Network and Solutions at Information Connectivity Solutions Limited (ICSL), Tinuade Oguntuyi.

Receiving the corporate Award on behalf of the NITDA DG, Manager, South-West Zonal office, Mrs. Jumoke Alaka, appreciated the organisers and pledged the Agency’s commitment towards encouraging girls in the area of STEM and ICT career.

Activities at the event included STEM Quiz and Vlogging competitions; Students roundtable, which was anchored by foremost journalist, Louisa Olaniyi, random quiz and entertainments.

In the Vlogging competition, moderated by tech enthusiast, Digital Strategist and Founder, ‘MissTechy’ - Nigeria's top Female Tech Blog, Oluwatobi Ayeni, Reagan Memorial Baptist Girls Secondary School, Yaba to the First Prize, while the Second and Third Prizes went to Chrisland College, Ikeja and The Lagoon School, Lekki.

In the STEM Quiz Competition, the top prize went to The Lagoon School, Lekki, while Baptist Girls Academy, Obanikoro and Government Senior College, Agege settled for the 2nd and 3rd positions.

Partners with eBusiness Life Communication Limited for this year’s event included the NCC, NITDA, Globacom, Digital Encode, VDT Communications, Digital Realty, Huawei Technologies, Inq Digital, and CocaCola.

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