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Women in information technology (IT)

Overview: Several Research white papers on the strategies to accelerate national IT capacity building have zeroed in on the massive involvement of women in the IT development cycle. Compared to other countries, the number of Nigerian women in IT is rather low.

Whereas, the concept of women in IT diffusion has been recognized as a fundamental strategy in attaining global competitiveness in IT for national development, we are yet to explore the colossal opportunities therein. However, reliable information has now revealed that a group of Nigerian women IT Professionals are gearing-up to engage the challenges and are evaluating various models and strategizing on how to enthrone the women as the centre of national development – through IT. My encounter with one of the promising groups has revealed the following – which believe makes an interesting read.

Women in Technology: (WIN-IT) is a fundamental concept designed to accelerate technology development process – with central focus on the intervention and affirmative action for empowering women to excel in mastering Information Technology skills, application, and support services.

Today, relevant studies have sown that this is a logical, economic and cost-effective model for leapfrogging and diffusing IT process delivery – especially for the developing countries. Indeed, it has become a common knowledge that women involvement in IT activities is central to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Our adopted model is training women to working and studying in the technology industries across Nigeria and empowering them to attain higher skills and promote their achievements via relevant events, programs, awards and networks that also provide opportunities for WIN-IT Volunteers to grow-up the leadership ladder and develop their skills.

Introduction: Project Focus: The project is focused on establishing sustainable opportunity to promote and empower the concept of Women in Technology development and accelerated technology diffusion for women at all levels – especially those in the rural areas. To join forces with thousands of Women in the IT Profession and Industry to innovate and create change for a better society

Background: The issue of women’s under-representation in information technology, whether in school, higher education, or industry, has been studied in many ways over several decades. Many of the studies which ask why women avoid IT, or if they enter the field, sooner or later fall away, make explicit recommendations to remedy the situation. However, the proportion of women continues to drop from a high of 40% in 1986, to about 29% at the end of 1999, and is still dropping. Nearly 80% of jobs in IT are in the management information systems departments of non-IT firms, – where women can fit in effectively if they are adequately trained and given the opportunities to deliver IT services.

Vision: “Transforming IT Capacity Building through Women Empowerment” Mission: WIN-IT aims to economically transform and leapfrog Nigeria’s IT delivery landscape, through direct intervention for women empowerment. The program is aimed at promoting awareness and maximizing the benefit of IT diffusion and application to a larger part of society and stakeholders whose responsibility is anchored on their families and require co-ordination and participation around child care challenges.

Model Structures and Program: Win-Back-IT is an inclusive strategic program which addresses the issues of lost grounds in national IT development life cycle. The program will, through the provision of advisory and support services facilitate the development of successful women empowerment project on the long-term – applying focused career strategies.

Apply mentoring techniques to develop and build capacities to empower Women in all Domain of IT activities. The  ”Win-Back-IT” Program will among others:

lTo promote and assist women to develop an effective IT Entrepreneurship start-ups strategy lTo foster Assist you to develop an ongoing career development plan  lEstablish Public-Private Partnership (PPP) for WIN-IT lTo develop strategies for Women Career intervention in IT.

Establish weekend hands-on workshops as convenient window for women the critical state of development.  WIN-IT will register volunteers and seek their input on the following.

lIT and related Technology Career Planning and Coaching lBasic and Advanced level Networking and Mentoring
lAssistance and support on Job Search/Employer Expectations  lDeveloping Career Planning Standards and Monitoring System lEnsure project and program sustainability through constant Reviews  Implementation Strategy includes but not limited to the following:

lEstablish Volunteers Group/Forum
lEstablish WIN-IT Portal (Interactive)
lDevelop On-Line Career Mentoring Program lEstablish WIN-IT Capacity Building Centres in Rural Areas OR  collaborate with existing platforms – for example: Use existing Centres such as IRTC (Rural Internet Centres of NITDA and IRC (Internet Recourse Centres of NCC or CPN Regional Centres

Benefits to the Nation: Based on the old adage of “train a Woman- Train a Nation”, Fostering and promoting a national intervention strategy and affirmative action on the conceptual model of women in Information Technology will:
lSave enormous cost and add-value to IT capacity building and reduce the negative impact of Nigeria’s Digital Divide.
lDeliver accelerated, value-added and economically feasible model for leapfrogging IT Skill capacities for National development.

lContribute significantly for the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – especially in Rural e-Health Delivery (Tele-Medicine, Sanitation etc.), HiV-Aids campaign, Rural Education (improved Computer literacy in Nigeria and Home economics/Child care)

lEnsure that Volunteers Group/Forum emerge for IT Development
lBring together a rich inclusive community social Networking.lImprove IT literacy in the home and nation-wide by about 50% within 24 Month.

lAccelerate the dissemination of critical public information to rural Stakeholders. Eg: About e-Government, Elections, e-Learning, e-Payment Process, Information Security and many more.

lEnhance Youth Development through On-Line Career Mentoring Program and Entrepreneurial activities.
lBring IT closer to the more than 70% of Nigeria’s population living in the Rural Area.

lReduce the cost of IT delivery to the Citizenry by using existing Centres such as IRTC (Rural Internet centres of NITDA and IRC (Internet recourse centres of NCC or CPN Regional Centres to accelerate IT diffusion.

lReduce the Digital divide and fulfils the some of the set target of the United nations (UN) Millennium development Goals (MDGs).


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