NGO urges girls to embrace STEM
To compete in the ever-competitive job market, the Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre (W.TEC), a non-profit organisation, has urged more girls to embrace science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects.
W.TEC said this would also help to bridge the gender gap in the technology space.
Executive Director of the centre, Mrs. Oreoluwa Lesi, made the call at an event organised to mark International Girls in ICT Day at Bishop Howells Memorial Grammar School in Lagos.
At the event, which was organised in collaboration with Oracle Academy, over 100 girls across some selected secondary schools were in attendance.
Lesi explained that STEM subjects were easy to learn, urging the students to pursue any career in the technology space.
She said that closing the gender gap in the technology space was of critical importance because it meant the loss of vast human resources that could contribute to national development.
She said that they designed programmes such as W.TEC Academy, an after-school technology club, which was aimed at attracting more girls to pursue science and technology careers.
“The club targets girls between ages 10 and 17 years, who attend public schools in Nigeria.
“Through participation in the year-long technology club, the girls become more confident in writing programmes, developing applications and creating digital content,” she said.
Also speaking, Territory Executive Manager, Oracle Nigeria, Oluwafunmilayo Awelewa, said girls could become unstoppable if they had digital skills.
Awelewa said that as technology skills became more crucial in the workplace, girls and young women in many parts of the world face being marginalised and left behind.
She said that without equal access to technology and the Internet, girls and women were not able to equally participate in the ever-growing digital society.
Awelewa said that holding back girls and women in this area affects every aspect of their lives, including their ability to speak out and campaign on issues that affect them.
“Technology is among the fastest-growing industries in the world, therefore, it requires more labour supply to thrive. Women make up almost half the workforce population.
“Their exclusion can deprive the technology industry of the crucial human resources it needs to grow,” she said.
Awelewa said that women were as good at technology as men, adding that it is not the lack of interest that keeps women from pursuing tech-related occupations, but an unsupportive culture and an undervaluing of their capabilities.