The Ghana Indian – Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT (GI-KACE), an agency under the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation (MoCD) held the 2023 Females in ICT (FEMITECH) on the theme “Advocating for gender equality through ICT” as part of efforts to celebrate the United Nations International Women’s Day (IWD) which is earmarked for every 8th March of the year with aim to recognize the contributions of women to global development.
Speaking at the event in Accra, the Sector Minister, Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful (MP) said the FEMITECH theme was appropriate and in line with the global theme for this year was “Digital Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality”, it seeks to recognize girls and women achievement in contributing to technology and digital education.
“I am inspired that the leader and Director General promotes females in technology and this is a sign that enlighten men are ready to support and promote gender equality” she expressed.
She mentioned that the Sustainable Development Goal 5 (SDGs) aims to achieve gender equality and empower all women and the goal was being manifested in 2023 FEMITECH conference because what “we are doing is to empower women and girls to take up leadership position in Information and Communication Technology (ICT)”.
She noted that, “statistics of the United Nations, 37 per cent of women do not use the internet at all and it drives to over forty percent 40% in sub–Saharan Africa though women account for half of the world’s population but only a few had access to the internet as compared to men. Usage and Access were two different things and over seventy percent 70% do have access at all and those who have access are only about thirty-seven 37 %. The statistics show that women have only two percent 2% of positions in Artificial Intelligence, machine learning and other related emerging fields. These figures represent the current situation in Ghana perhaps even lower”.
“This should be an area of concern to all of us especially after the United Nation projections that by 2050, 75% of all jobs will be related to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. I have also been informed that one trillion has been lost in global GDP over the past decade by excluding women from the digital economy. We can turn this around by encouraging women to engage in technology and inculcate it in business, health education and all other aspects of their lives”, she noted.
It was against this background that the Ministry was implementing and investing in many young people across the country, adding that, “last year we planned to train 5000 girls but we trained 3000 girls in ICT due to financial constraints”.
She added that, under the Girls-In-ICT (GIICT) programme, the Ministry was able to train over 3000 girls in Junior High School in coding and software. There has also been the development of local keyboards to enable citizens who cannot read and write English but are literate in the Local languages to use ICT.
“We also have the Huawei digital academy for tertiary institutions and preparing them for jobs in order to reduce the risk and threats of insecurity for the girl using this technology. The females in Cyber Security was introduced to ensure safer hygienic practices. Over the years we have trained over 100,000 girls in cybersecurity”, she added.
The Minister also stated that government, through her outfit, had championed other initiatives over the years such as introducing young girls to computer coding, programming, Artificial Intelligence (AI) among others. These activities, she said, were championed by GI-KACE in partnership with UNESCO and other stakeholders.
The FEMITECH Conference was participated by students, policy makers, civil society groups, and some outstanding women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics were awarded for contributing to Ghana’s digital economy transformation and the ICT industry.