The Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) organized a roundtable on Wednesday, 8th March 2023 to mark the International Women’s Day. The theme for the roundtable is “Digital Technology and Inclusion in Nigeria: Opportunities, Barriers and Best Practices for Attaining Gender Equality”in recognition of the crucial roles and contribution of women to the advancement of information communication technology, and the promotion of digital transformation in Nigeria.
The roundtable was a forum for stakeholders, including experts, scholars, and civil society organizations, to exchange experiences and learning, and to present strategies, progress, as well as challenges in achieving gender equality in the digital ecosystem in Nigeria. The event which had both physical and online participants in attendance was declared open by the Director General of the NIIA, Professor EghosaOsaghae, and the Director, United Nations Information Centre Abuja, Mr. Roland Kayanja, and the chairman of the event Mr. Bonny Mekwunye.
There was a lead speaker, Prof. Franca Attoh, Head of Department Sociology, University of Lagosand threePanel discussants namely MrsFunkeAlomoOluwa, former MD.CEO Chams Access Plc,Prof. OlajumokeYacob-Haliso, Department of African and African-America Studies, Brandeis University, MA,USA, and MrsMartha Alade, Founder Women in Technology in Nigeria (WITIN). The event was chaired by Mr Bonny Mekwunye, the former chairman of the Lagos chapter of the Information Technology Association of Nigeria (ITAN).
In attendance also were the students and teachers of the Nigerian Navy Secondary school Ojo, Lagos; Air force secondary school Shasha, Lagos and Aunty Ayo Girls International secondary school Ikoyi.
The speakers discussed the challenges and opportunities forwomen and girls’ participation in the digital ecosystem in Nigeria, and the need to close the digital gender gap by providing women and girls with digital access and skills, while advocating for more women and girls in the ICT profession and STEM related courses of study.
The program was indeed impactful and proved invaluable, as it drove meaningful discussions among guests and contributions toward promoting women involvement in technological innovations and state-of-the-art affairs.
In conclusion, there are a plethora of opportunities for women to maximize in the digital space, and collective activism will indeed drive needed change.