• Saturday, April 20, 2024
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Only 22% of STEM graduates are females in Nigeria – FITC

FITC unveils initiative to prepare youths for future work

Financial Institutions Training Centre (FITC), a Nigerian innovation and technology-driven knowledge institution, has said females make up only 22 percent of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) graduates from universities in Nigeria.

This was revealed at the FITC’s International Women’s Day event themed ‘DigitALL: Innovation and Technology as Enablers for Gender Equality’, held last week. The hybrid event was a gathering of thought leaders, technology experts, female leaders, and representatives from several organisations within the financial services sector.

“In Nigeria, just about 22 percent of STEM graduates are females, a wide gap from 50 percent in the United States, thus leading to a much lower level of female representation in the Nigerian tech workforce,” Ebuka Emebinah, team lead of strategy and governance advisory at FITC.

He said there has to be a change of mindset from the classroom to the boardroom where decisions are made. “It has to be a deliberate effort to catch them young, provide a conducive environment to see the growth trajectory, and take deliberate and concerted efforts to bring about change.”

This year’s international women day highlights how technology is crucial to advancing rights but a growing digital gender gap is impacting everything from women’s job opportunities to safety online.

According to the United Nations, 259 million fewer women have access to the internet than men, and women are largely underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers.

Chizor Malize, managing director/CEO at FITC, said this year’s theme was a call to action, to have inclusive and transformative technology and digital education for women and girls. This, he said, was crucial for a sustainable future, as advancements in digital technology offer opportunities to address development and humanitarian challenges, and to close the inequality gap.

“Bringing women and other marginalized groups into technology results in more creative solutions and has greater potential for innovations that meet women’s needs and promote gender equality,” she said.

According to Malize, the tech industry has come a long way in terms of gender equality, with several women making outstanding innovative and technological contributions that have impacted several industries, “but there is still a lot of work to be done because women make up only 25 percent of the tech industry and only five percent of leadership positions in this industry are held by women.”

Ashley Immanuel, co-founder/chief operating officer at Semicolon highlighted the importance of data, and the need to collect and use data to yield insights for the achievement of gender equity.

“Data is critical. It is easy for decision makers to assume that everyone has access to basic resources such as a mobile device, but data shows that this is not the case. Data has revealed that more access to technology is still required in several areas of the country, and there are still wide gender gaps in access to technology,” she said.