Madam Jenny Zhou, Director for Public and Government Affairs, Huawei Technologies Ghana says the most important measure to bridge the digital gender gap is through education.
She said whether it was college education or social training, ‘we need to give women more opportunities to participate in the digital profession.’
Madam Zhou was speaking at the opening of a week-long Huawei Residential Artificial Intelligence Training for Girls at the Tertiary level organized by the Ministry of Communications and Digitalization with support from Huawei Technologies, Ghana.
She said at Huawei, they believe that technology innovation could be led by women, and technology in its end could empower women.
“Huawei’s female employees have been playing a unique role and making important contributions to the company,” she said.
She said it was against this backdrop that the Huawei Women in Technology initiative was founded.
The Director said the training was in line with their Women in Technology initiative and over the next 8 days or so, Huawei has planned a series of exciting activities for these girls
Activities for the training include Professional Huawei HCIA AI Training, Team Projects in Tech, Mentorship, and Career Guidance Sessions.
She said the significance of technology could not be underestimated given its impact on societies and economies.
The Director said as the 4th Industrial Revolution beacons, all hands were needed on deck to fully realize the full potentials of digitalization.
According to the World Economic Forum gender gap report, women represent around 26 per cent of the STEM workforce in developed countries with a far lower number for developing countries and men outnumbering women majoring in most STEM fields.
She said it was in line with this that Huawei decided to partner the Ministry’s Girls in ICT Programme this year through their Huawei Women in Tech and Seeds for the Future Initiatives.
It is to promote ICT education and motivate more girls to consider taking up careers in STEM while contributing their quota towards the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5, of achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls through ICT.
Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Minister of Communications and Digitalization said it was the goal of the government to ensure that girls and young women were supported to participate fully in the digital journey of the country.
She said there was a huge gender gap in the ICT ecosystem and ‘we have made it a priority to close the gap.
She said the country just commemorated the Girls-In-ICT initiative in the Western North Region where 1000 Girls ranging from upper primary to JHS 2 were trained in basic computer skills, coding among others.
The Minister said the girls, who were not privileged to touching a computer accepted the training with so much exuberance and demonstrated their competence during the competition.
She said 100 girls, who came up tops in the competition were rewarded with laptops, additionally, 20 out of the 100 girls would have computer labs built for their schools if they do not have any and if they do, it would be refurbished.
“I am happy to say we are making a significant impact in the lives of Ghanaian girls and breaking the notion that ICT is a preserve for men,” he added.
She said the world has transitioned from manual systems to digital systems to enhance efficiency, transparency, accountability, ease of doing business, and the way communication was done has transformed greatly.
She said the digital systems being implemented by the government require digitally skilled manpower to operate and manage the systems for the benefit of the citizenry.
“This workshop is one of the modules we are introducing to the Girls in ICT Initiative and with the support of Huawei will become an annual programme,” she said.
She encouraged participants to exhibit enthusiasm and commitment throughout the training period.
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful commended Huawei Technologies, Ghana for their commitment to the initiative.