By Iruoma Kelechukwu
VODACOM Business Nigeria in its bid to address the gap between women and men in the ICT sector, where, according to the Nigerian National Bureau of Statistics , the ratio of Nigerian female workers to men in ICT was 3:1 in 2012; organized a one day ICT field trip for female students from Baptist Girls Academy, in Lagos to motivate girls to choose future careers in ICT.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the share of Nigerian females in the ICT workforce rose steadily from 19.02 per cent in 2010 to 22.96 per cent in 2012, with 78,757 Nigerian females employed in the sector at that time. With companies like Vodacom who are actively accelerating gender equality in the workplace, it is expected that the number of Nigerian females in the ICT sector must have grown substantially between 2012 and now.
When it comes to gender equality in the workplace, Vodacom leads. Currently, 43 per cent of Vodacom’s workforce is female. In the last year, promotions of female employees rose by nine per cent, while 17 perr cent of the executive workforce is female. Vodacom’s working policies also allow women more flexibility around maternity leave and returning to work. However, with the decline in the number of female candidates admitted into Engineering, Technology and ICT faculties between 2014 and 2015, it is important that more companies join in the promotion of females in ICT education in Nigeria.
Speaking at the Girls in ICT workshop organized by Vodacom Business Nigeria, the Senior Product Manager, of the company, Mrs. Funke Atanda said that “Gender equality remains a challenge, particularly in the ICT sector, and so we realize that we should do more to bridge the disparity between male and female in this sector. By supporting ICT skill acquisition for girls, bringing females into our organizations to learn about new technologies and helping them further develop their ideas, we are able to encourage more girls to choose courses and careers in ICT. This will help increase the number of women in the ICT sector in the near future”
According the National Bureau of Statistics, of the 564 candidates admitted to study engineering from Lagos State in 2014, only 129 were female. The numbers declined in 2015 with only 84 females admitted of the 414 candidates admitted to study engineering.
ICT driven programmes
By providing donations, training and support to ICT driven programmes, Vodacom Business Nigeria is accelerating the removal of barriers for girls and women in the ICT field.
Vodacom has created youth empowerment programmes like the Power to You project and #ConnectedSheCan, a campaign that targets a broad spectrum of women who face a range of challenges around work. Also, over the years, Vodacom Business Nigeria has supported Girls in ICT Day; an initiative of the ITU which aims to create a global environment that empowers and encourages girls and young women to consider careers in the growing field of ICTs, enabling both girls and technology companies to reap the benefits of greater female participation in the ICT sector. Atanda added that “Vodacom will continue to support and advocate for gender equality for women in and through ICT this will strengthen their stance in the sector while continuing to improve lives of all around the world”.