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Oreoluwa Lesi’s W.TEC and Four Other Firms Win the 2019 Equals in Tech Awards in Berlin

Last week in Berlin, Nigeria’s Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre (W.TEC) led by Oreoluwa Lesi and four other female-focused initiatives from all over the world were selected and honoured with the Equals in Tech Award.

This was done at the gala awards ceremony held in Berlin’s Estrel Conference Center.

The award, which has become an annual tradition, was hosted by the Equals Global Partnership. Applications for the award were received from over 200 organizations around the globe, with only five being selected for their outstanding and innovative efforts at bridging the digital gender gap.

The award was split into 5 categories and each selected organization received its award in one of the five categories. The categories are listed below:

  • Access Award
  • Skills Award
  • Leadership in Tech Award
  • Leadership in SMEs Award
  • Research Award

Dinarak Mobile Money Female Agent received the Access Award for its efforts to give more women access to financial inclusion in the Jordan region. The organization works with a network of female agents and is steadily changing the societal perception of women in regards to technology in Jordan.

US-based SheWorks! is a social impact-focused company that is set on helping women find gainful and flexible remote jobs from anywhere in the world. The company provides access to online training for women to improve their skill set.

Ghana’s Kumasi Hive was awarded for the Leadership in the SMEs category. Through its Bridge the Gap initiative, the company has trained over 1500 women and girls and has seen 60 startups founded by some of these women.

In the Research category, Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media was awarded for its report Portray Her: Representations of Women STEM Characters in Media.

The report is the result of a 10-year study that assesses how the US media and society portray STEM professions, and how this affects girls’ perception of and participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. 

Women’s Technology Empowerment Center (W.TEC) was selected for the skills category. W.TEC is a Nigerian nonprofit organization whose goal is to enable women and girls to become professionals and entrepreneurs in the tech sector.

Executive Director and Founder, Oreoluwa Ogunlesi, started WTEC in 2008 to encourage more girls to pursue technology careers as well as to support women.

“Technology can be an incredible force for good; enabling women to make meaningful connections with relevant networks, generate income, access important information and broaden their professional, personal and social vistas. But it can also be a tool to disenfranchise and exploit women unless girls and women understand how to build, use and advocate for technology that benefits them.”  

-Oreoluwa Ogunlesi, Founder and Executive Director W.TEC

W.TEC reaches out to its female audience through programs that include camps and after school clubs. According to the organization, W.TEC has impacted close to 10,000 females.

Females being trained at a W.TEC event

As a result of its training, more females have been equipped with skills to develop applications, games and websites as well as produce short films and other digital content.

Beyond the recognition, this will hopefully serve as an encouragement to other organizations walking this laudable path of impacting women.

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