Industry Stakeholders Charged to Support Girls in ICT 

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Emma Okonji

Stakeholders in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) have been advised to encourage young girls to be part of the ICT revolution currently going on globally. This is necessary to ensure a wider spread of digital literacy in the country.

Convener of the eBusiness Life International Girls in ICT Day Celebration, Mrs. Ufuoma Emuophedaro gave this charge while speaking on the forthcoming event, which will hold in Lagos, Nigeria this week. It is a global event initiated by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to encourage young girls and women to pursue careers in ICT.

According to Emuophedaro, studies showed that there are not enough women choosing careers in ICT, hence the need to expand the local technology talent pool to include more women with ICT skills can help fill this gap.

She called on other stakeholders to join hands to further invest in girls and young women by supporting the Girls in ICT campaign and empowering them, giving them the confidence to pursue ICT studies and careers.
She noted that jobs in ICT often offer higher salaries and lower gender-based pay gaps than in other fields.

“Girls in ICT Day events make girls and young women aware of the vast possibilities ICTs offer, quelling misconceptions about the sector and inviting them to envision their future as ICT creators,” Emuophedaro said.

The ITU, in initiating the campaign had noted that encouraging women and girls to pursue ICT careers also fosters a more dynamic technology sector, posing extensive benefits for companies. It states that a more gender-balanced workforce reflects the customer base more accurately, enhances productivity and innovation and leads to better financial results of any company.

ICTs drive growth and innovation worldwide, infiltrating all aspects of life. These ongoing advances in ICTs effectively make digital literacy a prerequisite for employment and entrepreneurship opportunities and are leading to a projected shortage of at least two million ICT employees worldwide by 2020.

As more companies partner with eBusiness Life to ensure the success of this year’s event Marketing Manager, Vodacom Business Nigeria, Anne Ihugba, said: “The company is concerned about the future and welfare of the young girls. It is not about us, or the companies participating, we want to make sure the children get the best.”

She stressed the need for corporate organisations to join hands and make a success out of the children. “Partners should be committed. It is a platform for competition,” she added.
The event will also form a platform for participating companies to network and find areas of complementarity.

As part of this year’s event, there will be App development and quiz competitions between female students from select secondary schools, round-table discussions, interactive and motivational talk from renowned women ICT professionals, among others.