GIRL CHILD
#IWD 2019 - our gender should never have to limit us!
March 8, 2019
BY SALMA MUHAMMED
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The world is advancing, so is the growth of technological innovations that make our lives better. Innovations ranging from quick access to health services to getting simple everyday tasks done, we are in an era where we all want a gender-balanced society, equal representation, a fair and square game ground irrespective of one’s gender. This International Women’s Day, we are focusing our light on young Nigerian girls and women who have decided to not just be consumers of innovation but also be part of those who are creating solutions to everyday challenges.


Decades ago, there used to be career sectors that were purely male-dominated, but as more girls have had the opportunity to smash the barriers of education we are having more women go into these career paths and do exceedingly well. The aim of this piece is not to focus on the big game players but on average Nigerian young girls who are into a career path that has been pre-concerted to be for the male folks only.  



Women are natural problem-solvers, what’s even best is that they tend not to just solve their own problems but also see how they can make it easy for other people.

          “ As a frontend and backend web developer, I found something that

            allows me to be creative, think critically and solve problems”

                                            Feyidamilola - Web developer



There is still work to be done especially at the grass-root level, from our homes to the classrooms i.e building their self confidence, combating the fear that comes with certain choice of study, sensitization, mentoring and leveraging access to opportunities for more girls to choose career paths that they desire without trying to discourage them that it’s meant for the male folks only.




    “ We can get ladies into STEM by educating the ladies and their parents/ guardian on the importance of ICT in our generation and that no career is just for one gender. Everyone can do it if they put their heart and mind into it”

                       Ochuko - Software engineer/frontend developer



The under-representation of women in the technical field is one that has sparked debates globally, computing has always been known to be in the province of women, so what changed?

Women are excited by technology, it’s an industry that requires dynamic thinking and exchange of ideas that has led to the creation of solutions to make lives better, it’s obvious that It’s definitely not self will that has prevented more women from going into STEM. Tackling the problem of under-representation comes with checking how accessible opportunities are available to young girls and creating a fairground when being hired. Gender should not come first when being considered for a job, skills and what they can bring on board is what should be priority for every employer.



In Sylvia Onwukwe’s words, technology is not limited to any sector, we are advancing towards a world where STEM diversifies into and every career sector that is why I went into STEM. I love challenges, and I get to solve different tasks every day that in turn helps to improve my skill sets.

    


“Technology is never boring and it’s constantly growing. I find myself doing

        more things that I love every day. Technology exposes me to new

         development and concepts”

                          Sylvia - Full stack developer/Security engineer


Cybercrime is becoming more complex by the day, this is proof that we need more professionals in this industry to counter the number of cyber attacks. Are there enough women in cybersecurity?  Is it safe to say we also lack strong female role models in Nigeria?

Women currently represent 20% of the cybersecurity workforce worldwide, you can also imagine the staggering percentage that will have in Nigeria.


“ I chose this path regardless of how challenging it seemed. Major challenge for me

  was starting up, finding the right setting and company willing to take me in, let me grow

  and learn. I just felt like every company just wanted someone who already had a

  Certain level of knowledge or experience”

                               Ofure - Security Analyst


One would think the gender-gap story will be different in other career sectors that are not STEM-related, fortunately, the story is changing even in the movie-making industry and more women are getting behind the camera. Girls and women are now changing the narrative by getting behind the script to handling the camera down to production.




“ I see more girls and women diversifying into unconventional career sectors

 And taking charge, i.e  for a project I am currently working on we chose to do

 an all women crew and you will be really surprised at the number of women that

 showed up for different roles ranging from camera operators to sound engineers,

 to gaffers, and even on-set electricians”

Grace - Filmmaker/Communication strategist


According to Grace, women should be allowed to do as much as they want to. There is no reason to deny a woman an opportunity solely based on her gender. Grace is a graduate of Information Communication Technology, she is now a filmmaker with credible projects to her name and is currently working on a women empowerment movie. She also doubles as a communication strategist.


Women are change agents, when something isn't going right they see to it. From running a home to having a successful career and still making out time to stay in shape one would need superpowers for this to happen but this is the reality of many Nigerian women and Coach Chioma has been helping women gain their confidence by going on their fitness journey with them. Seeing each one with their specific need and achieving a positive result. According to her, when a woman feels good about her body and mental state she will have the self-confidence that she needs to do anything.





“ The fitness business is no longer one for just the male folks, Nigerian women are

   owning their game, some are even married with kids but still do a fantastic job of coaching others

We women are strong”

Chioma - Fitness coach


A human is first a human before their gender, this should be so even for girls and women. They have a right to education and choosing their career path. To actualize a gender-balanced society we need to put women, their innovations and innovations for women at the forefront. Supporting girls and women for inclusion in policies that affect their lives and accessing opportunities will go a long way to create a gender-balance world.



This year, encourage women to “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change”



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