Science, technology, engineering and mathematics, collectively known as STEM, are vitally important for keeping Nigeria competitive in a technology-driven world.
But despite STEM’s importance, we are not training enough people with skills in vital areas such as digital technologies and engineering to make the most of these business opportunities.
The lack of women in essential STEM jobs exacerbates the national skills shortage and dampens Nigeria’s potential to lead the way in transforming our current industries and creating new ones. To compete on the world stage, we need a diverse and fully engaged workforce.
In an increasingly digital world, getting girls into tech is essential
As we become more governed by digital technologies, data and innovation, it’s undeniable that the future of work will be largely underpinned by a workforce trained in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). STEM-based careers will drive breakthrough innovations and create jobs of the future.
It’s so important we prepare the next generation for the new economy that will define their working lives. Girls are already chronically underrepresented in the technology sector: STEM powers our nation’s innovation and, therefore, its wealth. Yet, despite the growing opportunity for STEM careers, in the developed world, women account for just one-quarter of graduates in information and communications technology – even though women outnumber men in graduate schools.
Many girls turn away from STEM at an early age from a number of factors, including exposure to stereotypes that dissuade girls from pursuing STEM as well as a lack of role models.
Women in ICT foundation is an important catalysts for change in driving gender diversity in Nigeria’s technology ecosystem. The organisation’s events create an encouraging and fun environment wherein girls can safely learn and explore different areas like coding while forming friendships with other girls interested in it too. This “sistership” creates an empowerment cycle to give girls the support and confidence they need to stick with it.
By cultivating the development of digital skills from a younger age, we’ll prepare our girls to grow into women who not only benefit from but drive the opportunities that result from digitisation. Getting more females into digital careers means inspiring them while they’re young, giving them the skills they need to compete in a digital economy and then supporting them as they move into their careers.