Mastercard has launched its Girls4Tech programme in Nigeria. This programme, the first for this year, involves a total of 60 girls between the ages of nine and 12 from the Holy Child College in Lagos. The girls were tutored about the importance of science and technology and why it is imperative that they consider careers in those fields.
The Mastercard Girls4Tech programme is a hands-on, inquiry-based Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programme which also incorporates Mastercard’s deep expertise in payments technology and innovation. Mastercard employees serve as mentors and role models who guide participants through the practical and fun exercises.
Topics covered by the program includes encryption, fraud detection, data analysis, digital convergence, cybersecurity and AI. The program also emphasizes important skills such as collaboration, creativity and communication to enable young girls apply their technical knowledge to solve real-world challenges.
Through our Girls4Tech programme, we’re extending our commitment to Nigeria’s next generation of women leaders. We are 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.
-Ifeoma Dozie, Director, Marketing and Communications, Sub-Saharan Africa at Mastercard
Inspiring young girls to build the skills they need in STEM is important, 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.
To this end, Ifeoma Dozie says the Girls4Tech programme is helping to prepare young women for careers in STEm with the aim of ultimately improving their employability and increasing their opportunities for prosperity and success.
And because it is critical to have women represented in the decision-making, engineering and innovation processes, these young women would become a strong voice in the conversations that are driving the digital economy.
“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,” Ifeoma said.
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 reach 1 million girls globally by 2025. Additional programmes will be rolled out to schools in Lagos later this year.