A panel at this year’s Social Media Week conference in Lagos has urged girls to take up science, maths and technology courses in order to bridge the talent gap in the male-dominant tech sector.
“We are not just asking for inclusiveness just for numbers, but it’s actually the right thing to do. There needs to be equal representation in STEM.” Yemisi Olusola, a gender technology trainer said.
Participants said they believed that inclusion of female experts in building technology will greatly improve the experiences of female consumers – an often ignored demographic.
According to the Nigeria’s bureau of statistics, at least 22% of graduates of engineering and technology are female, but only a fifth the graduates work in the tech sector.
“Women are resilient and can multitask, so nothing stops them from excelling in these professions. But there is need for them to collaborate amongst themselves when building technology systems,” Toyosi Akerele, an advocate of gender equality in Artificial Intelligence, said.
Speakers also said that social norms hold back women from living their potential.