The international women’s day started as a way to celebrate women’s growth and appreciate their successes. Through this event, several campaigns have been held, several bills passed and most importantly, the awareness for women inclusion has increased. Campaigns around equal pay for both genders, equal access to education, equal opportunities for both genders- all these have, in a way, shaped a better world for women. As a result, women have taken up challenges in new areas and have excelled at it. However, we still deal with the case of underrepresentation of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). A tech community in Nigerian tertiary institution has less than 10 females. New areas like internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence, robotics, e-banking, have very few women pioneering the areas.
Only a woman understands what it is like to be one. More women in these areas would mean adequate deployment of these new technologies to solve more social and women related problems. It would encourage them to innovate and influence tech tools that would make the world function better. The Story that comes to mind is that of Sharon. Sharon is a 17 year old girl who grew up in the Makoko — a fishermen dominated slum in Lagos. She created a website to help fishermen sell their fishes faster and at better prices because she had the opportunity to be trained in the use of computer for web design. Her exposure to the world of tech helped her to solve her community’s problem. From having young girls her age hawk the fishes to having people order for the fishes online is indeed a great feat.
“Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change” — the United Nations theme for the year’s international women’s day event seeks to encourage women to take up more roles in STEM and design and solve more problems through it. The organization notes that it may be harder to achieve the gender equality goal by 2030 without the use of tech. Therefore, it is pertinent for women to begin to use tech tools to create more inclusion for women and children. Women empowerment, sustainable living and access to social protection systems can be advanced through the use of these tools.
As we celebrate the international women’s day this year, we are looking forward to having more women encouraged to take up roles in the areas of STEM and design. We also implore key players in the STEM sector to create more opportunities for girls and women to learn, innovate and build smarter products to make the world a better place.
As Women think equal, build smart and innovate for change, we all move faster towards achieving the gender equality goal by 2030.