Girls are poorly placed to benefit from the knowledge economy in developing countries. As such they have less access to skills training and development that would enable them to gain employment in the ICT sector. When females are employed, they generally work at lower levels, with less pay and this discourages them from participating optimally in science and technology education. These disadvantages further prevent girls and women from benefitting equally from the opportunities offered by the new technologies that would enable them to participate in the knowledge economy.
Concerned about the decline in the number of school girls opting to study technology-related disciplines and who work in technology focused organizations in most countries worldwide, 28th of April 2022, Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) in collaboration with Dala Ina Mafita organised an awareness programme to mark the International Girls in ICT Day. The event was held at the Guidance Standard School, Goron Dutse, Kano. The participants were girls from different community-based associations as well as students of public secondary schools in the state.
Observed in more than 166 countries across the globe, the Day, an initiative of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the International Girls-in-ICT Day was backed by all ITU members.
The Day was aimed at creating global environment that empowers and encourages girls and young women to consider careers in the field of information and communications technology (ICT).
Access and Safety was selected as the 2022 thematic priority as part of the initial step for girls to be able to access the digital environment in a safe way.
Speaking at the event, CITAD Executive Director representative Malam Ahmad Abdullahi Yakasai, said the Centre partnered with the organisers to expose participants to the various career opportunities available in the ICT sector, apart from encouraging them to aspire to such jobs.
Yakasai, told the participants who were drawn from different communities in Kano that the world now revolved around ICT and that the future holds a lot of promises for them should they go into the ICT sector.
CITAD Gender Officer Zainab Aminu, said that while significant progress has been achieved with increasing the participation of girls in the gender gap in ICT remains unacceptably wide, with representation continuing to be disproportionately higher for males than for females, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
Zainab, expressed concern that the gap was even wider in Nigeria, relative to countries like Ghana and South Africa. She reaffirmed that investment in early ICT education, affirmative action on the hiring of women in STEM and a reorientation to change the sociocultural beliefs and practices that deter women’s participation in STEM, as approaches that should be explored to reduce this gap.
The Chairperson of International Federation of Women Lawyers – FIDA, Kano State Branch, Barr. Bilkisu Ibrahim Sulaiman, noted that the global event presented a platform for various stakeholders to not only highlight the gender digital divide but proffer solutions and build partnerships that will help accelerate the movement towards the increased involvement of girls in ICT. She expressed appreciation for CITAD in continuous support for the Girls in ICT initiative and commended the CITAD sensitization lecture which will provide an opportunity for girls to gain a first-hand experience of working in the ICT sector.
Next was an interactive session with Engr. Kamaluddeen Umar leading the session, said empowering girls to choose a career in ICTs is not just good for girls and their families, it can be a major accelerator of socio-economic development at the national level.
According to him, the Day serves to inspire both government and the private sector to find ways to equip girls and young women with the skills they need to become ICT professionals.
At end of the sensitization participants asked some questions relating to the presentations made and they fed their curiosity.