By Our Reporter
To celebrate the International Women’s Day, Mastercard has launched its first 2020 Girls4Tech programme in Nigeria. It is aimed at training 60 pupils of the Holy Child College, Lagos, who are between the ages of nine and 12.
The hands-on, inquiry-based Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programme incorporates Mastercard’s deep expertise in payments technology and innovation.
Mastercard employees serve as mentors and guide participants through practical and fun exercises, covering topics such as encryption, fraud detection, data analysis, digital convergence, cybersecurity and AI.
The programme also emphasises important skills such as collaboration, creativity and communication to enable young girls to apply their technical knowledge to solve real-world problems.
Ifeoma Dozie, director, Marketing and Communications, sub-Saharan Africa at Mastercard, said: “Through our Girls4Tech programme, we’re extending our commitment to Nigeria’s next generation of women leaders and developing a talented pipeline of STEM professionals to support the country’s future economy, by encouraging girls to embrace the subjects that will prepare them for the workforce of tomorrow.
“According to an IPSOS survey, 89% of African women are the decision-makers or co-decision-makers for household purchases, yet UNESCO says the share of women working in research and development (R&D) is just 32% in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“It is critical to have women represented in the decision-making, engineering and innovation processes, so that we can design solutions that better meet their needs. By taking active steps such as the Girls4Tech programmes, we are helping to prepare young women for careers in science, technology, engineering and math, ultimately increasing their opportunities for prosperity, employability and a voice in the conversations that are driving the digital economy.
“Ranked 128th out of 153 countries in the 2020 Global Gender Gap Report, women currently make up only 22% of Nigeria’s total number of engineering and technology university graduates. The growing demand for STEM graduates in Nigeria’s workforce means increased opportunities for women in future.”
Since its launch in April 2014 in the United States, Girls4Tech has reached more than 500,000 girls in 28 countries, including over 100 girls in Nigeria. Mastercard has further committed to reaching 1 million girls globally by 2025. Additional programmes will be rolled out to schools in Lagos later this year.