To commemorate the recently held International Women’s Day on 8th March, 2023, MTN Nigeria hosted a Twitter Space session to discuss the theme ‘DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality’. The session aimed to further bridge the gender gap and encourage women participation in tech.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) says women make up 22% of the total number of Engineering and Technology university graduates each year and about a fifth of the total number of people working in the ICT sector.
Among the panellists was the Chief Digital Officer, MTN Nigeria, Aisha Mumuni who explained that, “to encourage more women participation in tech there is a need to begin to catch them young and introduce them to the basic aspects of tech before moving them through the educational system. This would involve a more direct approach.”
Guest speaker, Nnena Onyewuchi, Executive Director, Yellow Brick Road, said “part of encouraging more women participation is filling the pipeline earlier. In a lot of families in this part of the world, girls enter technology later than boys. While it seems like a protective measure, the girls end up less conversant, and less comfortable with the use of tech. For older women, there are many opportunities in technology outside engineering roles”.
Speaking on encouraging women’s participation in tech, Onyeche Tifase, Vice President Grid Consulting, Siemens Technology, highlighted three channels to effectively get this done – exposure, education and employment. “Women participation in tech is a joint effort from parents, institutions, employers, and other females coming together to pass down the belief that females can thrive in a tech environment” she added.
Women are active users of tech. In the kitchen, at work, and to get personal tasks done, tech is used. The right orientation on tech, emergence of skilled personnels for training, as well as the effective collaboration of women to mentor the younger generation would bridge the gap, and encourage more participation in this industry.
Also speaking on the conversation, Nkemdilim Uwaje Begho, the Chief Executive Officer, Futuresoft, noted the need to build relationships with men in the room as a practical approach to dealing with gender bias in the workplace. “Being confident and understanding that when estimated, you win, will give you power.”
MTN reiterated its commitment to bridging the digital divide in Nigeria and fostering technological inclusion in Africa.