According to some Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) advocates, when it comes to participating in STEM, the figures are always on the decrease in Northern Nigeria.
STEM advocates say this decline can be attributed to the several factors.
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Aisha Amoka-Mohammed, a programme analyst and STEM advocate noted that lack of support is one of the major issues hindering the growth of STEM among females in Northern Nigeria.
“Lack of support, generally there is a lack of tech support in the north. We still haven’t embraced technology in the north as opposed to the south side of Nigeria,” she said.
“This coupled with few technical issues hinders ladies in tech.”
Mohammed Ibrahim Jega, the founder, Startup Arewa has highlighted some of the factors to include environmental, social and religious factors.
Fear of technology
The founder of Blue Hub Saphire, Maryam Lawan Gwadabe, revealed that the fear of using tech products or engaging in tech-related activities is also one of the factors limiting female participation as the Northern region is still grappling with basic education talk more of technology.
“Fear of using technology as it looks too complicated for them to use as we are still struggling with girl basic education talk less of having them pay for extra curriculum activities such as technology skills acquisition.”
Having a role or guide in whatever you do is important in life, Gwadabe added, noting that lack of parental/family support and having a role model to guide is also affecting the figures.
“We need parents to support their wards, and lack of female role models to encourage the movement and create pathways for other to join is also a hinderance.”
What can be done to bridge the gap?
To bridge this gap, certain measures have been highlighted by STEM advocates to include the following:
Creation of opportunities: more opportunities created to enable women catch up with their peers from other parts of the country. Opportunities like Business development, leadership, entrepreneurship and innovation master classes to get northern ladies in tech up their game.
Sensitization: more sensitization and engagements should be dished out by hosting community activities in different cities such as Bootcamps and hackathons.
Involvement: involving/featuring women who have succeeded in breaking barriers in the tech space to serve as role models. This can also include the involvement of government, religious bodies, and other stakeholders to help foster the movement.
Opportunities: coming up with initiatives and showcasing opportunities women can leverage on within the tech space.
What they stand to gain
“As with the northern culture, women are mostly, after marriage, encouraged to be housewives, tech will enable them make money from home by creating content for several businesses, designing websites, products, etc thus making money from the comfort of your homes,” Amoka-Mohammed highlighted.
Females stand to benefit in such a way that they can contribute their qouta in all projects as there will no longer be solely male input in projects.