I find it interesting to note the correlations between how education amongst the female population has an influence on GDP as well as the presence of technological critical national infrastructures.
by Boma Beddie-Memberr
What if we have both in Nigeria? Just think about how much of a reformation and industrial revolution, especially in this new decade. It’s a no brainer that “education makes economic sense”, I personally believe a nation is only as strong as the value she places on her women. Innovation and technology are the driving force for empowerment across sectors.
In order for innovation in technology to be valuable to women, it has to do the following:
- It has to address challenges women face, in various contexts. We have to identify challenges an average woman faces in her daily activities and how tech can solve a large portion of these challenges in the Nigerian context.
- It has to enable women to achieve their goals.
- It must align with national and global efforts to attain gender-inclusion; (2030, SDG 5)
To effectively empower women with tech, here are a few areas to consider:
- With the rise of virtual learning and remote work, it is key to stay sensitive to the direction the world is heading. As much as the education sector has loads of opportunities especially as tech has become an enabler in this sector, there’s still a skills gap. There is a need for reach and quality in replications across the nation. We need to leverage tech solutions in filling these gaps in order to get more women in male dominated industries such as STEM and various sectors such as the Creative sector; liberating her to express her vision through passion and interest.
- Women are very particular about how convenient, reliable, private and secure they are, when it comes to finances. I have heard the term “vex-money” numerous times. Innovation is a driving force in this ecosystem and I have so much respect for Fintechs with existing products in the market. It will be valuable to have bespoke products that are gender-inclusive when it comes to achieving financial inclusion. For example, having a Fintech product achieve business literacy as well as financial services will be a valuable approach when thinking strategically about gender-inclusiveness in finance.
- Gender specific health solutions will fill the knowledge gap existing amongst females, especially about their health; addressing the narrative at various stages in life, from puberty to menopause.
- Increase in community-based mentoring and networking platforms (web and mobile applications) geared towards women of all ages is equally important.
Having a “big-picture” approach is essential for the reformation we are looking to see in this new decade. As we move closer to 2030, it’s time to reflect on where we were and be thankful for how far we have come. We need to recognise that it is perfect timing to strategically run programmes and initiatives that move us closer to where we need to be in 2030. Technology doesn’t have all the answers, but it is an enabling factor to reach our goals.
Boma is the Technology, Education and Creative Sector Lead, at the UK's Department for International Trade, Nigeria. She has over five years of relevant experience working in the tech ecosystem, both in Product Development and International Trade. She also has valuable experience specifically in product design & development, formulation of trade strategies, road maps and showcasing business opportunities within the African market. Boma has a Bachelor Degree in Information Technology, from Bells University of Technology and a Master in Spatial Planning, from Oxford Brookes University, Oxford.