The United Nations on Thursday showcased various technological innovations by young women and men that advanced gender equality and women’s empowerment in Nigeria.
UN Women Country Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms Beatrice Eyong, said the event was part of activities to mark the International Women’s month, with a theme, ‘DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality’, in Abuja.
Eyong noted the wide gender gap in employment and education in the technological sector in Nigeria, with women making up only 22 per cent of the total engineering and technology university graduates annually.
“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 demonstrate young women and men in Nigeria’s digital and innovative solutions to a variety of issues across a number of sectors in the society.
Also speaking, the Director General of the National Information and Technology Development Agency, Mr Kashifu Inuwa, said the organisation, through its several policies and startegies, had trained over 200,000 young people on ICT to bridge gender divide.
“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.”
Similarly, the Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, stressed the need for women and young girls to leverage on technological innovations to improve their lives and bridge the gender disparity in all sectors.
Tallen, represented by the Director, Women Development, Mrs Funke Oladipo, also highlighted the need to empower women and girls on digital skills, access to technology and support women-led businesses.
Also, the Country Manager, Microsoft Nigeria, Mrs Ola Williams, said the organisation had partnered with the Federal Government to skill five million youths through the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy to improve on technological innovations.
Williams said these would improve access to jobs, right tools and resources, as well as markets for their business.
“Because the world has become a global village, any technology developed today can actually be accessed by anyone in the world.
“So that is why beyond just providing skilling mentoring, we are also providing means to employability,” she said.
Other highlights of the events include exhibition of technological innovations by young women and men on gender issues, tech-apps, amongst others.
A legal practioner and a hearing impaired person, Ms Edeh Catherine-Chinyere, developed an app, ‘Voice of Disability Initiative’, an audio translator app that coverts audio to text for persons with hearing impairment.
Also, Ms Fatima Haliru-Yahaya’s ‘Honor of Haven’, an e-platform, was developed to support women and girls in reporting incidents of sexual and gender based violence.
Also, the UN women launched an app, ‘Buy-from-women’ digital platform to link women farmers and entrepreneurs to markets, information and finance.