International Day of the Girl Child, 2021 - Digital Generation. Our Generation
October 11, 2021|
Globally, the percentage of females among Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) graduates is below 15 percent in over two-thirds of countries
And in middle and higher-income countries, only 14 percent of girls who were top performers in science or mathematics expected to work in science and engineering compared to 26 percent of top-performing boys. - un.org
The International Day of the Girl Child is an international observance day declared by the United Nations; it is also called the Day of Girls and the International Day of the Girl. It was first celebrated in 2012. This day was set aside to increase awareness of gender inequality girls face worldwide based upon their gender while clamoring for gender equality and more opportunities.
The theme for this year’s International Day of the Girl Child is “Digital generation. Our generation”. This theme is significant because it stressed the apparent gender divide in the tech sector, the challenge the Women Techsters Initiative was set up to solve.
Speaking at the Science Technology and Innovation (STI) Forum earlier this year about the Women Techsters Initiative, Joel Ogunsola, co-founder and Partnership, and Sustainability lead, said, “Over the last five years, my colleagues at Tech4Dev and I have consistently worked on building digital skills skilling initiatives. We sought to create opportunities for young Nigerians and Africans to access decent work engagement through access to the internet and digital learning infrastructures. But what we then found out was, there was a huge gender gap. In the best-case scenarios, we would have eight men to 2 women within any digital skills program. Then we decided to create Nigerian Women Techsters supported by Microsoft, and the objective was to train 2400 women and girls across Nigeria in Digital skills. After two years of running this program, we realized that investing in women in alignment with already available statistics gives the community three times the return on that investment. We decided to upscale our goal to a more ambitious goal of reaching 5 million women across Africa by 2030. We unveiled this goal at the UN Solution Summit, which we were a part of in 2019.”
To achieve the goal of reaching 5 million women across Africa by 2030, we have set up various approaches like The Women Techsters Open Day, The Women Techsters Masterclasses, The Women Techsters Bootcamp, and the Women Techsters Fellowship. The Women Techsters Open Day is a monthly virtual program organized for women across Africa. Here, they get the opportunity to learn how to leverage the power of technology to start or advance their careers and create technology-enabled businesses from successful women who have built careers or businesses in technology over the years.
The Women Techsters Masterclasses are a series of 1-3-day training programs facilitated by skilled professionals across different sectors and tailored towards helping young African women with basic tech skills brush up their knowledge. It is also a virtual but empowering experience, which allows beneficiaries to learn directly from experts
The Women Techsters Bootcamp is a 2-week program held monthly to provide a learning opportunity for participants to explore and develop relevant tech skills, jump-start careers, or fill in knowledge gaps from emerging technologies. It is an intensive digital skill training facilitated by experienced technology facilitators across Africa.
The Women Techsters Fellowship is a year-long immersive training and experiential learning program for young girls and women across Africa to acquired deep tech skills. The program is designed using globally recognized standardized learning curriculums across five learning tracks. The learning tracks are; Product Design, Product Management, Software Development, Data Science, and Artificial Intelligence Engineering, and Cybersecurity to ensure the best learning experience to deliver the proper outcomes.
Asides from the Women Techsters Initiative, as an organization, we are committed to equipping Young Africans with Digital skills through various programs. For example, the Basic Digital Literacy for Northern Nigeria Project in partnership with the Foreign Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO), 50% of the targetted beneficiaries were women and girls and at the end of the training, 60% of the 1300+ beneficiaries were women and girls empowered with basic digital literacy skills. We are dedicated to ensuring that at least 50% of our beneficiaries are women and girls in all our programs and we are achieving this through programs like the Emerging Markets Model Initiative (EMMI), Olu Kosoko Foundation Digital Education & Academy (OKDEA), American Tower Corporation (ATC) Digital Villages, Basic Digital Literacy for Southern Nigeria, amongst others. We do this because we understand that to bridge the gender gap in the tech sector, conscious efforts have to be made hence our intentionality.
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