Saturday, May 24, 2014

Keynote Address: Nigerian Women In Information Technology (NIWIIT) Lagos State Chapter Inauguration

Keynote Address: Nigerian Women In Information Technology (NIWIIT) Lagos State Chapter Inauguration by Mrs. Adekeyede Elusoji, National Secretary, NIWIIT

Mr President, the Executive of NCS, Fellows of the Society, Executive of ITAN & ISPON as well as our dear NIWIIT Executive you are once again welcome to this occasion.

Mrs Adekeyede Elusoji, National Security, NIWIIT and Dr. Deola Ilechukwu, President, NIWIIT

As we all know, Governments, academic institutions, corporations, non-governmental organizations, professional journals and magazines, and many individuals are all talking about bridging the digital divide. While everyone basically understands what the digital divide is, there has been much less agreement on how the digital divide can be bridged, its historical significance, and its absolute impact on the global economy.

For most governments and corporations, the conventional approach to bridging the digital divide is to provide computers, Internet access, and technology training to people in disadvantaged communities. Thus, determining whether the digital divide is being bridged is based on the increasing numbers of our citizens who use computers, who have access to the Internet, and those who received some level of technology training.

The Realities

Sexual hierarchy, as evidenced within both the education and labour sector, is not the dictate of biology but is the result of socially constructed norms. These norms have played a direct role in the creation of a gendered digital divide that is primarily caused by a lack of women pursuing careers in science and technology. A variety of socio-cultural reasons for the sex related differences are offered. These include the tremendous burden that has been placed on women to conform to society norms of what is considered feminine. Ideas about the appropriate roles for women in the labour market and in society, or about the biological unsuitability of women for science, serve as primary impediments to women choosing careers in science and technology

What is the impact of computer technology on gender equity and education? Researches have shown that:

1.    Girls made up only a small percentage of students in computer science and computer design classes. The gender gap widens from grade eight to eleven. Girls are significantly more likely than boys to enroll in clerical and data-entry classes, and less likely to enroll in advanced computer science and graphics courses.
2.    Girls encountered fewer powerful, active female role models in computer games or software
3.    School software programs often reinforce gender bias and stereotypical gender roles.
4.    Girls use computers less often outside of school.
5.    Girls of all ethnic backgrounds consistently rate themselves significantly lower than boys on computer ability.
6.    Boys exhibit higher computer self-confidence.
7.  Teachers receive little or no training in how to use technology to create an innovative, engaging, equitable learning environment.

Globally, studies have shown that mathematics, physics and technical subjects are considered to be “hard” and therefore, more suitable for boys than girls. The absence of suitable role models for girls further compounds this problem, where there is a predominance of male science teachers. Furthermore, career guidance counselors frequently steer women away from careers in sciences, directing them into careers more “suitable” for women. Thus, generally, men far outnumber women in engineering, science (Computer Science) and industrial arts. This poor representation of women, particularly among black women, in the fields of science and engineering, is reflected in women’s position within the labour force.

The most recent study shows that girls are critical to the computer culture and are NOT computer phobic. Instead of trying to make girls fit into the existing computer culture, the computer culture must become more inviting for girls.  Other findings of this report are instructive:

  • Girls find programming classes tedious and dull, computer games too boring, redundant, and violent, and a computer career option uninspiring
  • Girls have clear and strong ideas about what kinds of games they would design…Games that feature simulation, strategy, and interaction. These games would, in fact, appeal to a broad range of learners –boys and girls alike.
  • Gender equity cannot be measured by how many girls send e-mail, use the Internet, and make PowerPoint presentations. Rather, gender equity means using technology proactively, being able to interpret the information that technology makes available, understanding design concepts, and being a lifelong learner of technology.

When women, who make up half the workforce, account for only a small percent of those with information technology credentials, it is a clear sign that we have to make computers and technology relevant across the job market to nontraditional users. I am not sure what the percentage of women in technology in this country would be, but I would guess that a large disparity does exist between women in the labor force and those with IT credentials.

The Way Forward

In light of this above discussion, we should be able to draw a few conclusions about the concerns of women in higher education as related to gender and technology. I return to my initial question, what most women in higher education demand of the information technology revolution?  The answer lies in the formation and effective administration of women oriented organizations such as NIWIIT.

NIWIIT is an Interest Group of  Nigeria Computer Society like ITAN and ISPON. Membership is therefore open to female members of Nigeria Computer Society, CPN and any woman involved in IT.  Since NCS requires every registered member to belong to an interest group, NIWIIT becomes an option for all female in the IT industry.

Members of the National Executive of NIWIIT


(1) Foster unity among Nigerian women in the IT industry through networking.
(2) To maintain and defend the integrity and right of women in the IT industry.
(3) To promote professionalism, capacity building and good relationship among members through mentoring.
(4) To maintain the highest standard of ethics, conduct, virtue, etiquette and discipline among women in the IT industry.
(5) To engage in any activity and ventures which will promote NIWIIT and welfare of members?
6) To create a platform by which women in IT can collaborate with other women in other professions in Nigeria and elsewhere.
(7) To develop and train members of the NIWITT through workshops and capacity building programs.
(8) To create awareness programs for IT related services and products among women in the rural and sub-urban areas in Nigeria, special target groups and students in secondary school and tertiary institutions.
(9) To encourage more female participation in the IT profession.
I am confident that the inauguration of NIWIIT Lagos Chapter will contribute immensely towards the realization of these noble objectives.

Thank you and God bless you all.

Mrs. Adekeyede Elusoji
National Secretary, NIWIIT

NIWIIT marks Girls in ICT Day

NIWIIT (Nigerian Women In Information Technology) will be marking the 2014 Girls in ICT Day on May 27, 2014. Venue is Rochas Foundation, Okigwe Road, Owerrii, Imo State, Nigeria. Time: 10am - 2pm. NIWIIT is an interest group of the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), led by its President, Dr. (Mrs) Deola Iluchukwu focused on becoming one of the top recognized organizations advancing the cause of women and girls in IT in Nigeria.

According to the release from NIWIIT, a total of 5 female students from each of the15 schools invited from Imo, Abia and Enugu states are expected. Also invited are teachers from the schools, NIWIIT members from the 3 states and members of the public.

Although the International Day for Girls in ICT was observed on the 24th April 2014 globally, West African Examination Council (WAEC) exams were ongoing and schools were closed for the Easter break in Nigeria at that time. Since the target group for NiWIIT are JSS2, JSS3 & SS1 students, NIWIIT decided to shift its Girls in ICT day event to the month of May 2014.

According to Ilechukwu, NiWIIT decided to organize the event to mark that day on Tuesday, 27th May 2014 – children’s day. Participation is effective when the teachers are able to bring the girls for the event. The event is expected to include a seminar, a quiz competition and knowledge sharing with foremost national female ICT professionals. Winners will be presented with gifts.

The digital gender gap is a reality in the technology sector. The question is: how sustainable in progress in the industry in particular and society in general without the ideas, inputs and contributions of girls and women in ICT? Getting girls interested in technology at an early age is a necessity. Technology is essential for progress and girls need to be part of the process.

International Girls in ICT Day is an initiative backed by ITU Member States and Girls in ICT day events and opportunities are geared towards informing girls about the exciting and world changing opportunities in ICT. Idea generation, quizzes, knowledge sharing and mentoring are typical #GirlsinICT activities. The events will give them insight into why ICT is an attractive career option, and why gender in ICT is a non issue.
NIWIIT, a lead change agent committed to empowering and advancing women in ICT is therefore at the forefront of promoting ICT career opportunities to girls and women and inspiring girls, teachers, and the ICT sector to be more proactive and committed. The industry needs more women.
#GirlsinICT day  is about building interest in technology and careers in ICT among girls. For NIWIIT it is about showing commitment to the next generation.

Nigeria Computer Society

Nigeria Computer Society
- promoting change and development for all