by Isi Esene
On April 25th 2013, Women in Technology in Nigeria (WITIN) will join the world to mark the International Girls in ICT day, an initiative of the ITU to advance a universal environment that empowers and encourages girls and young women to pick up careers in the growing information and communication technologies (ICTs) sector.
WITIN is organizing a one-day conference themed- WOMEN AND GIRLS IN TECHNOLOGY- EXPANDING HORIZONS. This inaugural high-level conference will bring together high school students and women in Nigeria to discuss how to foster women’s contributions and empowerment through ICT as well as to celebrate the feats of young girls in the just concluded Technovation challenge.
Keynote speakers include Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman Diaspora Committee of the Nigeria Federal House of Rep. representing Ikorodu Federal Constituency in Lagos State, Prof. Ita Okon Bassey Ewa, Honourable Minister, Fed. Ministry of Science and Technology and Ann Mei Chang, Senior Advisor for Women and Technology at the US Department of State under the chairmanship of Chief Oma Eyewuoma, Exec. Vice-President, Technical Conoil Producing Ltd, Nigeria.
Ann Mei Chang pointed out that “Women and girls continue to be dramatically underrepresented in the ICT field around the world. Not only is this an issue of opportunity for individual women and girls, but as the ICT sector continues its outsized growth it will increasingly contribute to a talent gap which leaves critical jobs unfilled. Girls often lack role models and may be discouraged from pursuing ICT by parents, teachers, or peers. Girls in ICT Day is an important event to raise visibility of the many successful women who have pursued ICT careers”
Other speakers include Njideka Jack of MTN Nigeria, Folakemi Olawolu of Phase3 Telecoms, Chinyere Edward Azike of Signal Alliance Limited, Adedoyin Jaiyesimi of YNaija, Martha Omoekpen Alade of Women in Technology in Nigeria and Samuel Eyitayo of the U.S. Consulate General, Lagos.
The CEO of Phase3 Telecom Mr. Stanley Jegede states that “women are often unsung heroes in the advancement of Information Technology especially on the African Continent; it is why Phase3 Telecom as an equal opportunities employer is focused on influencing and driving the needed change in this reality. Ensuring women contribute at least 47% to the Phase3 Telecom workforce”. Thus; he commends ITU’s celebration of women in the advancement of Technology around the globe through the Girls in ICT initiative. He emphasizes the need for the IT industry to actively encourage and champion the indelible contribution of women to the development of new technologies and innovation in our world. Also in this vein, the president of ISPON Dr Chris Uwaje Lauds the feat of the young winners of the Mobile App Challenge who will be celebrated also on the Girls in ICT day.
Highlights of the event also include recognition of the winners of Technology Affects Me- TAM; mini-challenge for girls and young women. Short Presentations will be made by teams who took part in the Technovation Challenge, a program of Iridescent. The team facilitators include Esther Ugbodaga of Channels TV, Toyosi Odukoya of MTN Nigeria, Nnenna Ugwu of EDC Pan African University and Ijeoma Abazie of Microsoft Nigeria. The winners will also be announced and awarded; they hopefully will represent Nigeria and travel to Silicon Valley CA to compete globally on May 2nd. The event will be held at Twitter HQ and will be co-hosted by Twitter and LinkedIn. The Secretary General of ITU, Dr Hamadoun Touré will be rooting for the Nigerian team in Silicon Valley.
WITIN is an official Tech Needs Girls Partner of the International Telecommunication Union. Mrs Martha Alade and the entire Women inTechnology in Nigeria express deep appreciation to the ITU for supporting this event.