As the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) joins the world to mark the International Girls’ in ICT Day, the organisation calls on governments, national education secretariats, teachers, parents and all stakeholders across the sub-region to help encourage girls’ enrollment in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and ICTs.
Despite the important role the internet plays in today’s technologically inclined world, women and girls continue to be underrepresented in ICTS and STEM programmes across the West Africa region. This unfortunate trend is largely attributable to perceptions that these programmes are too technical and male-oriented.
The MFWA is therefore calling on all relevant stakeholders, particularly governments, teachers and parents to help demystify girls’ fears and apprehensions about STEM and ICTs through policies and user-friendly teaching approaches and strategies.
“In this age digital revolution, we cannot afford to leave anyone behind. Unfortunately, research shows that females are about 50 percent less likely than men to be online. We therefore need to reconstruct girls’ and women’s perceptions about ICT and STEMs in general. STEM courses are like any other subjects so we have to encourage girls and women to veer into these areas so they can take advantage of the opportunities the ICTs field offer,’’ Dora Mawutor, Programme Manager for Freedom of Expression at the MFWA said.
The MFWA also takes the opportunity on this year’s International Girls in ICT Day, to congratulate all the women trailblazers in ICTs and STEM fields across West Africa. We encourage them to make conscious efforts to mentor girls in their respective countries as a way of encouraging them in the field.
International Girls in ICT Day is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in April every year in order to create a global environment that empowers and motivates girls and young women to take up careers in the growing field of ICTs.