It’s no longer news that gender inequality persists because it is supported by social norms and legal institutions, as well as the behaviours of households. This issue is not any different in the application of technology and is in fact, even worse. As the case may be, gender inequality appears to be more prominent in African countries. However, in reality, the issue of female marginalisation is not holistically addressed in the application of ICT. In other words, the way ICT is applied today, is largely an extension of our socialization and traditional beliefs.
Nevertheless, things are beginning to take a different course in the country. Last month, the Ondo state government organized an ICT training, exclusively for 100 girls. Just recently, MTN has joined the campaign by the International Telecommunications Union to encourage more girls and young women consider careers in the Information and Communications Technology industry.
This decision was unveiled by the General Manager, Regulatory Affairs, Oyeronke Oyetunde, during the celebration of the “International Girls in ICT day”, organized by eBusiness Life magazine. Following a forecast on the shortage of skilled ICT professionals in the next ten years, Mrs. Oyetunde said:
“This is why it is even more vital that we attract young women into the technology space, which will not only empower them, but also serve as a springboard to overcome cultural and social barriers that may prevent them from accessing life-changing opportunities. We need to create these large-scale opportunities if we are to sustain healthy growth rates for the overall benefit of the industry.”
The General Manager duly noted that the move is a way of dissolving the long existed gender bias that has sidelined the female gender for years. According to her there are women who occupy prominent positions in the IT department and are doing well, just like their male counterparts. Gone are the days when women were relegated to marketing and customer care departments. These days, entrepreneurs, including women are using ICT to make their businesses more efficient and effective.
The General Manager made reference to the telecom’s Chief Enterprise Business Officer, who is a woman. Accordingly, “she manages MTN’s big data technology, which serves as a reliable business enabler and a catalyst for economic development”.
Women shouldn’t only be the consumers of ICT; they should be encouraged to partake in certain developments. This is a good move by the telecoms firm. However, the dominant group in the society always determines the shape and direction of a society’s techno-economic order and this figure has always been a male.