FG pledges to promote girls, women participation in ICT

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The Federal Government on Tuesday pledged its commitment to promote the participation of girls and women in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) activities.

This was contained in a statement signed and issued in Abuja by Mrs Efem Nkanga, Special Adviser on Media to the Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs Omobola Johnson.

The statement said that government’s commitment was aimed at demystifying ICT, and make girls and women see ICT as a viable career option that could empower and positively impact on their future.

“The administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, in a bid to empower women and girls in Nigeria, created a gender empowerment scheme entitled: Girls and Women in Nigeria (G-WIN).

“To make it work, five ministries – Communication Technology, Agriculture, Works, Health and Water Resources, signed MOU with the Ministry of Women Affairs, and the Ministry of Finance.

“This is to empower women and girls through specific interventions and services geared at improving the lives of women and girls in Nigeria.

“The Ministry of Communication Technology is empowering women and girls through specific technology initiatives to enable Nigerian women and girls actualise their potential,’’ the statement said.

It said that statistics showed that women constituted about 50 per cent of Nigeria’s population, and held less than 20 per cent of ICT jobs.

The statement added that only about 33 per cent of the women were online.

It quoted a report by Broadband Commission Working Group as saying there were 200 million fewer women online than men, adding that the gap could grow to 350 million in three years.

It said that the report revealed that women were slowly coming online globally than men, adding that of the world’s 2.8 billion Internet users only 1.3 billion were women.

“Women account for fewer than 20 per cent of ICT specialists in developing economies, and by 2015, 90 per cent of formal employment across all sectors will require ICT skills.’’

The statement also quoted the Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs Omobola Johnson, as saying: “We need to increase the participation of women and girls in ICT.’’

“Getting more girls into ICT is a task we are committed to at the Ministry of Communication Technology.

“We want to ensure that Nigerian girls are encouraged and empowered to embrace ICT.

“It is critical to get girls to adopt ICT so that they are not left behind in the digital revolution changing communities and nations across the globe,’’ the statement said.