Engaging women and girls in ICT sector work is not only the right thing to do from the point of social justice. It is also smart economics.

~Digital Inclusion Report (2012)

The age where men and women were ascribed to certain roles is over. Presently, women participation is encouraged in male dominated roles or positions. Many women are excelling in positions that men were seen to perform better. In recent times, women play essential roles in decision making in political, social, economic and environmental issues. Women are being empowered and groomed into taking the reins of leadership.

The United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or the Global Goals is a blueprint to attain a better and more sustainable future for everyone by the year, 2030. Goal 5 reiterates gender equality vis a vis women and girl empowerment. It echoes the need to create equal rights, opportunities and conditions for boys, girls, men and women. Everyone deserves to attain full rights to shape their lives and contribute to development of the society. In spite of the efforts being made to realise goal 5, there are still existing gaps in various walks of life. The efforts can come in the form of individuals, governments or organizations. One of such organizations is the presence of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) which use their activities to develop and improve the society while encouraging citizen participation.

Society is dynamic and not static. People change, things change and without change no society can survive. Society has evolved over time, especially with the advancement of Information Technology (IT). In lay man’s terms, it is the use of technology to solve problems in a business or organization. The use of computers and other physical devices to create, process, store and pass on all forms of electronic information is one significant change existing in our society today. Unfortunately, it is a fast growing field that is male dominated and requires all necessary efforts to close the existing gap. Aside the efforts of governments and individuals, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) play a critical role as agents of change in our communities.

IT Women Africa is an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) oriented NGO which seeks to provide 100% free on-hands training to women and girls across Ghana and the African Continent. According to research by the World Economic Forum, McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other renowned institutions, women without adequate IT skills may face new challenges on the job market by 2030. This is the age of automation and demands of the job market will be predominantly controlled by Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies. AI offers new job avenues for economic development but women may be in the disadvantaged due to pre-existing challenges. Globally, 40-160 million may need to transition between occupations, specifically into higher skilled roles. They stand a better chance of being more productive and receiving salaries.

The project of IT Women Africa is already underway in Ghana and totally free for all women and girls. Founded by Mr. Caesar Ayitey Ashong, he and and his team of humanitarians are conducting lessons tailored to equip women and girls with IT knowledge and skills to enhance their careers. The project is being funded by Core Alpha Company, a Property Management, Trading and IT Solutions Company of which Mr Ashong is the Chief Executive Officer. The vision of the project is to:

*Equip women with digital skills for changes in organizations and the business world.
*Bridge the gap of gender parity against women in today’s technologically evolving world.
*Fight against jobs currently held by women who are at risk of losing them as a result of digital technologies in years to come.
*Match gender equity, equality and dignity shared in the male dominated field of tech.

The Non-Profit operates on 4 mission statements which will:

*Increase free access to knowledge in digital or tech skills to women in both formal and informal sectors as well as those in the rural areas.
*Form ICT clubs for young girls in basics, senior high schools, colleges, and universities to fulfil the agenda of enhancing them with ICT training and further inspire them to infuse IT into their future careers.
*Set up community ICT training centres and sessions in both rural and urban areas for easy accessibility to free training.
*Organize workshops, seminars and boot camps for the general public but target women and girls to understand the need to include knowledge and skills in ICT in career advancement.

IT Women Africa works with a teaching and learning curriculum that is practical for all participants. It covers topics such as Introduction to Computer & Internet Applications; Ms Office Suite Applications; G-Suite (Goggle) Applications; Digital & Social Media Marketing for business; Website Designing; Graphic Design; Database Management; Software & Mobile App Development; Hardware & Networking and so many more exciting courses. The professional development programmes the organization offer will enable women in tech to interact and empower others in their career path while their youth programmes assist girls in primary, middle and high schools to make important academic decisions that will include technology. The organization is receptive of all like-minded individuals and institutions that wish to partner with them to support this cause of making women change agents for national and global development. This project with various stakeholders of change will push the UN SDGs forward to create fantastic opportunities for women and girls.

By Maame Quaigua Arthur. Master Planner December 01, 2021


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