The United Nations on Thursday highlighted various technological innovations by young women and men in Nigeria that advanced gender equality and women’s empowerment.
Ms. Beatrice Eyong, UN Women’s Country Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, said the event was part of activities in Abuja to commemorate International Women’s Month, with the theme “DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality.”
Eyong emphasized the large gender gap in employment and education in Nigeria’s technological sector, with women accounting for only 22% of total engineering and Technology University graduates each year.
“This is due to gender stereotypes and social norms that still categories jobs in these sectors as ‘men’s jobs’, which inhibits women from applying to study and demonstrate interest in such subjects.
“It also prevents companies from hiring qualified women for these roles.”
According to her, the showcase would highlight young women and men in Nigeria’s digital and innovative solutions to a wide range of issues in a variety of sectors of society.
“We trained no fewer than 222,000 young people in ICT and we believe that we have a growing population, vibrant entrepreneurial and expanding tech eco-system, which if we leverage can provide an opportunity for us to achieve gender equality and women empowerment.” Mr. Kashifu Inuwa, Director General of the National Information and Technology Development Agency, stated at the event that the agency’s various policies and strategies had trained over 200,000 young people in ICT to bridge the gender divide.
Similarly, the Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs. Pauline Tallen, represented by the Director of Women Development, Mrs. Funke Oladipo, emphasized the importance of leveraging technological innovations to improve women’s and young girls’ lives and bridge the gender gap in all sectors.
Mrs. Ola Williams, Country Manager, Microsoft Nigeria, also stated that the company had partnered with the Federal Government to train five million youths in technological innovation through the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy.
Other highlights of the events include the display of technological innovations by young women and men on gender issues, as well as tech apps.
Ms. Edeh Catherine-Chinyere, a legal practitioner and hearing-impaired person, created the ‘Voice of Disability Initiative,’ an audio translator app that converts audio to text for people with hearing impairment.
In addition, Ms. Fatima Haliru-e-platform Yahaya’s ‘Honor of Haven’ was created to assist women and girls in reporting incidents of sexual and gender-based violence.
In addition, the UN Women launched a digital platform, ‘Buy-from-women,’ to connect women farmers and entrepreneurs to markets, information, and finance.