Girls4Tech: Mastercard Addresses Low Tech Skills Among Nigerian Women
To mark the celebration of International Women’s Day, Mastercard has launched its first Girls4Tech programme in 2020 in Nigeria, by engaging 60 girls between the ages of 9 and 12 who are currently attending Holy Child College in Lagos.
The program incorporates Mastercard’s deep expertise in payments technology and innovation by harnessing on hands-on experience, Inquiry-based Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, STEM
Mastercard employees serve as mentors and role models and guide participants through practical and fun exercises covering topics such as encryption, fraud detection, data analysis, digital convergence, cybersecurity, and AI.
The program also emphasizes on relevant skills such as collaboration, creativity, and communication to enable young girls to apply their technical knowledge to solve real-world challenges.
Madam Ifeoma Dozie, Director, Marketing and Communications of 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.”
Inspiring young girls to build the skills they need in STEM is crucial, as it ensures that more women have a voice in the development of the products and services of the future.
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,” she pointed out.
She added, “Connecting people to possibilities is fundamental to what we do at Mastercard. It’s what Priceless is all about –unlocking the potential in every person across all parts of their lives? By creating a world with women in mind, and women involved, we can unlock limitless possibilities for us all.”
Based on the Global Gender Gap Report, it was ranked 128th out of 153 countries in 2020. Currently, women make up 22% of Nigeria’s total number of engineering and technology university graduates.
The increasing demand for STEM graduates in Nigeria’s workforce means increased opportunities for women in the future.
Since its inception 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 dedicated to reaching 1 million girls globally by 2025. Additional programmes will be made available to schools in Lagos later this year.