Mr Yahaya Yunusa, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), American Tower Corporation (ATC) Ghana, has said more girls and women should be involved in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) to close gaps in the pursuit of STEM disciplines and careers.
He explained that this would bring equity and diversity on those lines for development.
Mr Yunusa said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) following the organisation of Ghana’s International Girls in ICT Day programme to host schoolgirls from the Central, Oti, Western North and North East Regions for a day of mentorship and work shadowing.
The programme was part of the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation’s (MoCD) activities to climax the commemoration of the day.
The day, instituted by the United Nation’s International Telecommunication Union is marked annually the Fourth Thursday in April, globally, to celebrate and encourage girls and young women to pursue studies and careers in the technology sector.
Mr Yunusa said the Ministry, in April each year, embarks on training for girls in basic schools from different regions in various Information and Communication Technology (ICT) related programmes.
The training ends with the provision of mentorship for about 100 girls who excelled in the training sessions, to interact with ICT and engineering related organisations in Accra.
Activities for the Day at ATC Ghana included a visit to a cell site and indoor system monitoring setup to give the girls first-hand experience of ICT and engineering at work.
The girls also interacted with women engineers in the ICT field to share their experiences while encouraging and opening their minds to possible career options as well as lessons in coding.
Mr Yunusa noted that despite the assertion that science, technology, and innovation were key drivers of the global increasing digital society, less than 30 per cent of STEM professionals were women.
Globally, he said, there was approximately half the number of girls studying STEM subjects compared to boys in tertiary institutions.
The CEO said: ‘‘We believe our actions on the day of the programme, coupled with other initiatives such as our Digital Communities Learning Centres currently in 10 communities across the country would go a long way to make an impact in bridging the disparity not just for now but into the future by bringing more girls and women into STEM and ICT roles all the way to leadership positions.’’
Mr Yunusa emphasised ATC Ghana’s continuous commitment to the Girls in ICT initiative as its objectives aligned with their diversity, equity and inclusion strategic agenda which they were devoted to.
He advised parents to treat their children equally and change from the archaic mentality that girls belonged to the kitchen, because every child had the potential to be what they wanted to be in life.
‘‘We see ladies today who have become astronomic engineers in science, that can also happen to our ladies here in Ghana,’’ he said.
The CEO commended the Ministry for their partnership and the teachers for their dedication to their work.
Madam Dorothy Mensah, Network Operations Analyst, ATC Ghana, said the Corporation was the largest independent owner and operator of shared wireless infrastructure needed in the country.
She said they provided wireless infrastructure and equipment that network providers used to ensure people were able to connect with each other through wireless devices.
Ms Ernestina Asare Bediako, a second-year student of the Wesley Girls Senior High School, said she wanted to be more enlightened on Information Technology (IT) in order to succeed, since the technology was advancing consistently, and to socialise.
She advised girls to take up the challenge of pursuing IT because she believes everybody was capable.
‘‘…So far as we have the strength, we can do it, just try and you will do it,’’ she added