Gender balancing across all aspects of socio-economic and political system has been a recurring issue, not only in Nigeria but the African continent.
For Ms. Kelechi Cynthia Udeh, founder of TechFam, a technology-driven non-profit organization, it is time to further bridge the gender gap in the tech industry by empowering African women and girls with essential digital skills.
To actualize her goal of promoting gender equality, Udeh’s Femme Robotics competition, one of TechFam’s impactful projects, has been empowering young African women and girls in technology through technical skills and education.
The aim, according to her, is to encourage gender balance in the male-dominated tech industry.
A graduate of Political Science, Udeh said: “I delved into various tech-related courses online, covering communications, web development, graphics design, video editing, and animation.
“My Political Science background equipped me with analytical thinking, while working as a communications specialist honed my strategic communication and leadership skills. Founding TechFam and leading projects on gender mainstreaming provided hands-on experience in tech advocacy. These diverse experiences collectively prepared me for my current career, offering a holistic skill set crucial in navigating the dynamic field of technology and social impact,” she added.
Highlighting her feats, Udeh posited that young women and girls have benefited from reusable sanitary pads, laptops, notepads, smartphones, school bags, water bottles, mathematics sets and certificates of participation in the programme – contributing to their education, empowerment, and exposure to technology in the process.
She, however, admitted that her project had its own challenges such as initial uncertainties, particularly in handling intricate coding tasks, and hurdles in securing sponsorships for her Femme Robotics competitions.
“Our major challenge has been securing sponsorship for TechFam’s Femme Robotics competitions and other projects,” she said, adding that as a new organisation, “building trust also posed hurdles”.
She noted that the widespread embracing of technology in firms is driven by its ability to enhance efficiency, productivity, and innovation.
“Technology streamlines processes, automates tasks, and provides data-driven insights, enabling businesses to stay competitive. The digital transformation also facilitates global connectivity, enabling collaboration and communication.
“Moreover, the adaptability of technology to various industries allows firms to meet evolving customers’ expectations. Ultimately, the integration of technology is seen as essential for staying agile and relevant in an ever-evolving business landscape,”
She, however, admitted that within the entrepreneurship space, women-owned businesses still face specific challenges, noting that closing the gender gap in entrepreneurship and politics requires multifaceted efforts.
“Providing mentorship and financial support specifically tailored for women entrepreneurs can address barriers to entry. In politics, implementing and enforcing policies that promote gender equality such as quotas, can amplify women’s voices.
“Encouraging a cultural shift towards recognising and valuing women’s contributions in both sectors is crucial for sustainable change. Collective action involving government, businesses, and society can pave the way for a more equitable future,” Udeh added.