Mastercard has rolled out its first 2020 Girls4Tech programme in Lagos, Nigeria. The company said in a statement that the programme would seek to address technology shortage among Nigerian women and also encourage more female inclusion in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) careers.
A total of 60 girls between the ages of nine and 12, currently attending the Holy Child College in Lagos, were encouraged to consider careers in science and technology.
“The hands-on, inquiry-based STEM programme incorporates MasterCard’s deep expertise in payments technology and innovation. Mastercard employees serve as mentors and guide participants through practical and fun exercises covering topics such as encryption, fraud detection, data analysis, digital convergence, cybersecurity and Artificial Intelligence (AI). The program also emphasises important skills such as collaboration, creativity and communication to enable young girls to apply their technical knowledge to solve real-world challenges,” the organisers said.
The Director, Marketing and Communications, sub-Saharan Africa, Mastercard, Ifeoma Dozie, said: “Through our Girls4Tech programme, we’re extending our commitment to Nigeria’s next generation of women leaders and developing a talented pipeline of STEM professionals to support the country’s future economy, by encouraging girls to embrace the subjects that will prepare them for the workforce of tomorrow.
“Inspiring young girls to build the skills they need in STEM is important, as it ensures that more women have a have a voice in the development of the products and services of the future.”
Citing a recent survey, which reported that 89 per cent of African women are the decision-makers or co-decision-makers for household purchases, Dozie said the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) had said the share of women working in Research and Development (R&D) is just 32 per cent in sub-Saharan Africa.
Speaking further, Dozie said: “It is critical to have women represented in the decision-making, engineering and innovation processes, so that we can design solutions that better meet their needs.
“By taking active steps such as the Girls4Tech programmes, we are helping to prepare young women for careers in science, technology, engineering and Mathematics ultimately increasing their opportunities for prosperity, employability and a voice in the conversations that are driving the digital economy.
“Connecting people to possibilities is fundamental to what we do at Mastercard. It’s what priceless is all about –unlocking the potential in every person across all parts of their lives. By creating a world with women in mind, and women involved, we can unlock limitless possibilities for us all.”