Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?
Information and communication technologies (ICTs) play an essential role in the world's societies, and have the potential to help disadvantaged groups increase their participation in the civic, social, political, and economic processes which is critical to achieving change. The pivotal role that ICT plays as a force for socioeconomic growth is because of its global coverage, mobility and capacity to be deployed irrespective of location.
But while ICT has exploded across Africa over the last decade, transforming daily life and commerce for millions, it is a revolution that has left behind a large proportion of the population- WOMEN. In terms of usage, and workers in the sector there is a disproportionate amount of male to female ratio. ICT as a tool to promote socioeconomic empowerment of women, address equity issues with regard to gender, disadvantaged groups, as well as those in rural and under-served communities has become a matter of urgency in Nigeria.
Over the last decade, the use of ICTs has been highly integrated into Nigeria’s production system, yet not very many women in Nigeria including those in the production system are ICT compliant, in terms of knowing available ICT devices, how to operate them and how to integrate them into their work process. Some other challenges deterring young girls from pursuing careers in ICT include: ignorance of the opportunities and benefits of ICT; lack of female ICT role models and the traditional belief that ICT is a domain for men.
Available research shows that female enrollment in the technology courses of Nigerian higher institutions is lower than their male counterpart. This disparity continues in the industry with women accounting for less than 20% of ICT jobs in Nigeria tending to occupy mostly junior or non-technical positions because they think ICT is more of hardware, mathematics, algorithms and programming. This means that women are not benefiting from technology’s economic and social advantages.
Women tend to have less access than men to the ICT facilities that exist. Rural information centers or cyber cafes are located in places that women may not be comfortable frequenting. Since most ICT cafes in rural areas are shared public access, women have problems of time. Given multiple roles and heavy domestic responsibilities, the leisure hours are few and the centers may not be open when women can visit them or they may be open in the evenings when it is problematic for women to visit them and return safely to their homes in the dark. Their mobility (both in the sense of access to transport and ability to leave home) is also more limited than that of men.
Technology is an important engine for economic growth and improving women’s access to technology in particular, has the potential to spur their economic advancement and stimulate broader national economic advancement.
To get more women exploring and using technology, it is important to demonstrate to women how interesting and varied technology careers are, and to support more women in technology. Despite the disproportionately low numbers of women in ICT, their contribution is nonetheless, important. It is essential to continue to harness the strengths and contributions of women in ICT as this will drive the future of Nigeria's development
Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!
In order to remedy women’s lack of participation in the ICT sphere, Oreoluwa focuses on women and girls ages 11-30 who may or may not be pursuing a tertiary level education and older women with little or no technical skills. She is bridging the gender digital divide, empowering women to incorporate ICT to engage successfully in leadership activities and develop entrepreneurial skills and financial independence. She is positioning women to effectively fit in the ICT space, giving them an opportunity to learn in an enabling environment and also using a system of mentoring to connect them to successful women already using the ICT tools.