๐™ƒ๐™ค๐™ฌ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™๐™Ž๐˜ผ๐˜ฟ๐™-๐™‡๐™Ž๐™€๐™๐™ ๐™‹๐™ง๐™ค๐™œ๐™ง๐™–๐™ข ๐™ž๐™จ ๐˜พ๐™ก๐™ค๐™จ๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™‚๐™–๐™ฅ ๐™—๐™ฎ ๐™€๐™ข๐™ฅ๐™ค๐™ฌ๐™š๐™ง๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ ๐™’๐™ค๐™ข๐™š๐™ฃ ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™™ ๐™‚๐™ž๐™ง๐™ก๐™จ ๐™ž๐™ฃ ๐™‡๐™–๐™œ๐™ค๐™จ

The 2022 edition of International Girls in ICT Day was commemorated on April 28. With this yearโ€™s theme as Access and Safety, the day which is marked on the fourth Thursday in April is set aside to inspire a global movement to increase the representation of girls and women in technology. The day lends credence to the now widely accepted truth that science, technology, and innovation remain key drivers of our increasingly global and digital world, with science and technology playing a huge role in all careers. However, less than 30% of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) professionals are women, according to International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

With almost 50 per cent of the worldโ€™s population being females, this is a scary position, to say the least. For instance, according to UN Women, the jobs of the future will be driven by technology and innovation and 65 per cent of children entering primary school today will have jobs that do not yet exist.

Also, girls represent approximately half the number of boys studying STEM subjects in tertiary institutions, as reported by ITU, precipitating a dire need to close this gap by ensuring diversity, equity, and inclusion of women and girls in STEM. How do we close this gap? Introducing girls and women to tech skills at a young age will ultimately translate to economic independence. Thatโ€™s why on a day like the International Girls in ICT Day, it is imperative to raise awareness regarding the representation of girls and women in technology. It is also a day to highlight the initiatives of various stakeholders in closing this disturbing gap.

One of such is the USADF-LSETF Employability Enhancement program, funded by the United States African Development Foundation (USADF) in partnership with the Lagos State Government through the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF).

With the USADF-LSETF program, Diamond Development Initiatives (DDI) as the Implementing Partner of USADF in Nigeria, is currently facilitating the provision of globally competitive and sought-after skills to young people in Lagos State, contributing to the reduction of unemployment amongst youth in Nigeria. The program is empowering 3,000 young people per year for five (5) years by equipping them with relevant skills which cut across technology, creatives, education, health and beauty, hospitality & tourism, business support, financial services and construction sectors. It also seeks to provide paid post-training internships for a minimum of 50 per cent of these young people in jobs within their chosen sectors.

So far, about 2000 young women and girls have been trained in courses such as cloud computing, computer studies, cyber security, data analysis, software engineering, virtualization, web development, agent banking, etc. equipping them to take advantage of employment and entrepreneurship opportunities. With such initiatives and with the commitment of all stakeholders, the gap will be closed sooner than expected.

Happy International Girls in ICT Day