NGO Urges Girls to Embrace STEM

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Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre W.TEC, a non-profit organisation, has urged more girls to embrace Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics STEM subjects to bridge the gender gap in the technology space.

The Executive Director of the centre Mrs Oreoluwa Lesi made the call at an event organised to mark the International Girls in ICT Day at Bishop Howells Memorial Grammar School on Saturday in Lagos.

The event recorded over 100 girls across some selected secondary schools attended the event.

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 meant the loss of vast human resources that could contribute to national development.

 “This would entrench gender inequality,” she said.

She said that they designed programmes such as W.TEC Academy, an afterschool technology club, which was engaging and 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.

The Territory Executive Manager of 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’s not the lack of interest that keeps women from pursuing tech-related occupations, but an unsupportive culture and an undervaluing of their capabilities.

She said learning digital skills was important for African women and girls because it can help them overcome gender disparities and increase their economic opportunities.

Awelewa said that a good starting point to get women into technology was creating a supportive culture in homes, schools, and the workplace.

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is to be understood; now is the time to understand more and be fearless. Never believe you could do less because you are a woman,” she added.

She urged the girls that they could achieve more regardless of their gender, size, current department and life challenges.


NAN/Dominica Nwabufo