Oby Ezekwesili, former minister of education joined Twitter some years ago when she told her son how much she wanted to teach Public Policy as a subject at the university. One of her twins son, Chine, told her she can start the lecture on Twitter, she doesn’t need a physical classroom. As so, Ezekwesili took to Twitter to create a virtual classroom on the subject she titled Public Policy 101, that now has a huge following. And so her engagement with Twitter and other social media platforms like Facebook began.
Ezekwesili shared her encounter with technology penultimate Friday at a session organised by Access Bank on women and technology in a presentation titled: ‘My Personal Experience Using Technology’. It was a gathering of notable women in business and budding entrepreneurs at the Access Bank’s meeting to kick start the training on ‘Empowering Women with Technology’ an initiative the bank is using to call women’s attention to the opportunities ICT has to offer.
“Technology says I don’t know enough, I want to know more,” said Ezekwesili while explaining the benefits of technology. “No one is more important than the informed woman. Only a third of women are currently productively engaged. Technology can get you into where you can’t get to. You can determine the extent of your reach with technology. You lead the world in an idea with technology,” she said.
The event which took place at the bank’s head office on Victoria Island offered women the opportunity to x-ray how they have responded and how they are responding to the advent of technology. Most of the older women in attendance were truthful enough to say they have not given the development in technology much attention.
However, in his welcome remark, Victor Etuokwu, executive director, personal banking, who spoke on behalf of Herbert Wigwe, Access Bank’s managing director, said the essence of the bank’s engagement in training women in technology is to let them know how they can fully maximise the numerous opportunities in ICT to grow their businesses.
“In Access Bank, we believe women are the glue that keeps the society together,” said Etuokwu. Hence we celebrate women in Access Bank to commemorate the International Women’s Day. Today is focused on empowering women with technology which is the currency for engagement, interaction and doing business. As we drive and follow our passion in empowering women nothing could be more impactful than using technology to drive business. We hope to train 400 women in the next 12 months and we are collaborating with Wild Fusion Digital Centre.”
While delivering her paper titled ‘Overview of Technology Landscape in Nigeria: Opportunities for Women’ Omobola Johnson, minister of communication technology and guest speaker at the event said gender inequality poverty are some of the factors inhibiting an average woman in Nigeria from accessing technology.
According to her, understanding what needs to be done to address gender inequality and its links to economic growth and poverty reduction including other factors such as education and social position can help a woman exploit the prospects in ICT.
“The internet brings the market to your home that is what we tell SMEs,” she explained. “SMEs that employ technology are usually more successful than those that don’t. Women who adopt technology, improve their businesses, they are skilled in the use of technology and more effective in their jobs. Ability to use technology can generate new employment opportunities.”
She further explained that Nigeria has not made much progress because at all levels people still believe science and technology are for men. “We need to do a lot of work to tell our generation to get into ICT. We need to train women and make them interested in technology at an early age. With technology the future of the Nigerian woman will be different as technology is addressing gaps in skill acquisition,” she said.