Technology has become and continues to be an important part of our daily lives. The access and use of information and communication technology (ICT) has served as a platform for people all over the world, unfortunately this has not happened for everybody. There continues to be people who are unable to gain access, specifically women and girls, to ICT. In today’s blog we look at how one Nigerian ngo, Women’s Technology Centre, is changing the narrative for women and girls and ICT.
In 2014, it was reported that the gender gap with regards to access to the internet reached nearly 45% in regions like Sub-Saharan Africa and 25% on average in the developing world. In 2015, the gender gap was 16%, a decrease of 9%, in the developing countries, Nigeria included. This gap displays the need for action to be taken worldwide to enable for women and girls to gain access and use of the internet and ICT as a whole. A study conducted displayed that one of the main reasons that greatly accounts for the underrepresentation of Nigerian women in ICT access and utilization is structure (time, location and illiteracy) rather than that of a personal reason, for example being prohibited from a relative. Hence an emphasis on improving the environment for women and girls must be done to enable for the change we want to see. Creating such an environment serves as a means of progressing Nigeria as a whole. Since 49% of the population in Nigeria are female, “…investment consideration in women and girls will increase productivity, promote sustainable growth, peace and better healthcare; and in turn foster development.” And one organization has heard this call and is reaching out to the many women and girls who want that access and the ability to utilize information and communication technology.
Oreoluwa Somolu Lesi founded Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre (W.TEC) in 2008 in Lagos, Nigeria, having focused on the interplay of gender and technology for several years and published her various works in academic journals on the subject. Lesi noted that there is a gap in women’s knowledge and use of ICT in many African countries which denies them the opportunity to generate income and to network with others. With her four colleagues, W.TEC created and offers programs centered on technology literacy training, technology-based projects, mentoring and work projects. W.TEC also understands the importance of partnership, especially as a small organization, “having collaborated with various organizations, holding events and creating awareness on the importance of women and girls in the field of technology.” In addition to the programs that directly impact Nigerian women and girls. W.TEC aims to research and publish works on African women and technology, resulting in providing more information to be utilized in creating the means for more inclusivity in technology, more efficient strategies and understanding of the barriers. One of their many success was partnering with Intel, Oracle and WeTech to launch W.TEC Academy in October 2014, afterschool technology clubs for high school girls and last year alone 209 girls graduated. “Through the clubs, the girls delved deeply into using Microsoft applications, developing multimedia and Alice programming.” As W.TEC is focused in all areas, workshops were executed for teachers, so as to empower and equip them with the tools necessary to support the girls. W.TEC not only worked with students and teachers but have also reached out to female entrepreneurs in collaboration with their partners as well as partook in conferences focused on women and technology.
As the world continues to evolve, women must be present and included, W.TEC is doing just that for Nigerian Women. To learn more about Women’s Technology Empowerment Center look below:
 Rainatou Sow, “Women and ICT in Africa: A new digital gap,” AlJazeera, May 23, 2014, http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/05/women-ict-africa-new-digital-ga-201452210244121558.html
 Kwetishe Joro Danjuma, Bayo Mohammed Onimode and Ochedikwu Jonah Onche, “Gender Issues & Information Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D): Prospects and Challenges for Women in Nigeria,” International Journal of Computer Science Issues 12, 2 (March 2015): 313, http://ijcsi.org/papers/IJCSI-12-2-313-320.pdf.
 Ibid, 314.
 Ibid, 315.
 “Our Staff,” http://www.w-teconline.org/about-us/our-staff/
 “Our Work,” http://www.w-teconline.org/about-us/our-work/
 “News,” http://www.w-teconline.org/blog/