IWD: Women not adequately represented in ICT jobs- Joy Ezilo
By Ruth Oginyi
Prof. Joy Ngozi Ezeilo Founding Director, Women’s Aid Collective (WACOL)/Tamar SARC and GirlsWill Wednesday said Women are not adequately represented in ICT jobs, top technology management, and digital careers in the country.
She, therefore, calls for a redress of the misrepresentation by having digital Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality.
In a press statement to commemorate international women’s day 2023, prof Ezilo a former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, especially women, and children noted that the proportion of women who own mobile telephones, engage in innovative activities with technology-based start-ups, and/or study STEM courses is insignificant.
She advocated for a deliberate commitment to encourage women and girls’ inclusion into the digital space and support digital skill acquisition for sustainable development in our communities and nation at large.
The statement read in parts, “In Nigeria, social norms, religion, and other cultural vices make it impossible for women and girls to fully participate in economic and social activities.
These gender inequalities and blatant sex discrimination inhibit women and girls from active involvement and inclusion in the digital economy.
“The proportion of women who own mobile telephones, engage in innovative activities with a technology-based start-up, and/or study STEM courses is insignificant and was the basis upon which WACOL established the GirlsWill Initiative in 2020.
“Women are not adequately represented in ICT jobs, top technology management, and digital careers. It has been observed that men are ten times more likely to be ICT and hi-tech specialists than women. The exclusion of women and girls from digital spaces further deepens exacerbating inequalities. Negating, SDG 5 focuses on gender equality. Target 5.b of SDG 5 states ‘‘enhance the use of enabling technology specifically, ICT to promote the empowerment of women’’(UN, 2015).
“The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) celebration is strategic and instrumental to enable actors to explore the impact of the existing gender digital divide and develop a road map of action for an inclusive digital space. Importantly, fostering community engagement for identification and innovation to tackle emerging Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) and create safe digital spaces.
“In addition, innovations and transformations through digitization provide new opportunities for women’s economic empowerment. Bringing women and girls into technology can pave the way for more creative solutions and greater potential for innovations that meet women’s unique needs and promote gender equality.
“Recognizing that inclusive and transformative technology for digital literacy and empowerment will advance the ICT capacities of women and enhance their quality of life and learning particularly for agency, voice, and advocacy is vital to sustaining investment toward women’s digital inclusion. Holding them in this area will affect every aspect of their lives including their ability to speak out and campaign on issues that affect them.
“Hence, we urge stakeholders to collaborate to implement policies and programs that seek to increase sensitization/awareness on the gender digital divide, provide access to ICT, digital training, and ICT safety for girls, especially in rural areas with the view of driving growth, empowerment, and infrastructural development to bridge the urban-rural divides”.