About 80 girls from the Central, Western North, North East and Oti Regions have converged in Accra to join American Tower Corporation (ATC) Ghana to mark this year’s International Girls in ICT Day programme.
The girls are among pupils who excelled in a month-long mentorship training experience in ICT and engineering organised by the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation.
According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) – initiator of the International Girls in ICT Day – science, technology and innovation are key drivers of our increasingly global and digital society. However, less than 30 percent of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) professionals are women.
Globally, in tertiary institutions there is approximately half the number of girls studying STEM subjects compared to boys. With this inequality persisting through the 21st century, the need for diversity, equity and inclusion of women in STEM is pressing.
The ITU further explains that the main goal of Girls in ICT is to cultivate the presence and digital skills of young women and girls (aged 12-24] in the career field of STEM.
Therefore, in an effort to bridge this gap, ATC Ghana and Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation has partnered to support the young girls and also give them mentorship programmes to whip up their interest in STEM programmes.
As part of activities to climax the celebration, the girls were given first-hand experience of ICT and engineering at work when they visited an ATC Ghana cell site and indoor system monitoring set-up. They also had the opportunity to interact with women engineers and those in the ICT field to share their experiences, encourage and open their minds to possible career options as well as lessons in coding.
In a speech to welcome the girls, Chief Executive Officer (CEO)-ATC Ghana, Yahya Nasamu Yehusa, emphasised how his organisation is committed to ensuring girls succeed in ICT and engineering-related subjects.
“We are committed to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and we believe these activities will help bridge the digital divide by promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and encourage more girls to choose careers in it,” he said.
Mr. Yehusa further explained to journalists that ATC Ghana’s 10 digital centres across the country will be used as points to educate young girls.
“After the mentorship, we are putting together channels that will be able to track these ladies that have developed interest in this field and are making progress so we can continue to support them.
“We do have 10 digital centres across the country, which we use as a points to be educate young girls in ICT and teach them more about computer programming. We believe that as we continue to grow our digital footprint, this will be able to create more impact and reach out to more girls in the remote areas who are interested in ICT and engineering,” he said.
Some of the girls who participated in the activities expressed excitement after having first-hand knowledge of how ICT works, and also being able to interact with some women in engineering and ICT.