Nigeria’s communication technology minister, Omobola Johnson, has encouraged Nigerian women to pursue careers in ICT and bridge the gap between males and females in ICT.
Speaking in Abuja on Girls in ICT Day yesterday, Johnson blamed the perception that ICT is only for geeks and men as the reason why, in spite of the advances recorded in ICT across the world, there are not enough women in the sector.
She expressed the commitment of her ministry towards the encouragement of more girls to develop interest in ICT and to erase the perception.
‘’When I was studying engineering, I was one of five girls in a class of about 80. My daughter has just graduated in an engineering degree and she was also one of about five or six girls, so nothing has really changed in 30 years’’, Johnson said.
“We need to ask ourselves why and help remove all the barriers militating against girls and women embracing technology. Some of the barriers limiting women has to do with lack of support and encouragement and the ministry will provide the necessary support by encouraging women to embrace careers in ICTs.”
The highest achieving girls in the sciences from various schools have been invited to a one-week event organised by the ministry to encourage and expose them to sciences with the goal of increasing the number of women and girls in ICT.
Johnson said the ICT sector in Nigeria has tremendous opportunities for women in areas such as software development, telecommunications, IT, space development and electronic engineering.
Addressing girls in Abuja, Johnson said: “You just need to work hard and don’t be retiring. Women tend to think that our work will speak for us – sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t. Speak out, work hard and don’t be afraid! Women can do it if they try.”
At the event, 35 girls who had excelled in sciences received Vantium Computer Tablets to empower and encourage them to strive for excellence in ICTs.