Nairobi, April 22nd, 2021: Young women in the country have been urged to embrace science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in order to secure their future in the job market which is increasingly shifting towards the digital path.

This comes in light of the existing gender gap in the STEM fields which most girls shy away from as their male counterparts continue to dominate.

This call was made during the commemoration of the International Girls in ICT Day that is held every fourth Thursday of April globally.

This year’s event was commemorated virtually under the global theme of Connected Girls, Creating Brighter Futures.

Speaking during a webinar organised by the Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs in partnership with Konza Technopolis, the ministry’s Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Maureen Mbaka urged girls and young women to make use of the available resources to advance their skills and knowledge in the STEM fields as they seek to create and seize opportunities in the technology space.

“Under the Ministry, we have initiatives like the Ajira Program, the Constituency Innovation Hubs (CIHs) as well as Youth Empowerment Centres. There are over 300 of these spread out across the country with aim of giving young people access to digital skills for empowerment. As we celebrate this day, we want to urge our girls to take up careers in ICT and embrace STEM education in schools,” said CAS Mbaka.

She further urged the younger generation need to leverage on the tech space to open up more opportunities for themselves as the future of work is online.

“As our young workforce, we should be aware of the changing nature of work which is going digital. With the pandemic in place, it is important to note that demand for digital work has been accelerated and everyone needs to learn how to work with computers remotely and delivering on short-term work commitments,” she added.

During the event, ICT Authority CEO Dr. Katherine Getao urged girls to pursue their dreams without fear, noting that the ability to bring change is within themselves.

“To young girls and women out there, just remember that you can do anything that you put your mind to. Have a can-do attitude, put your mind on it and go for it because there is no space that is meant for specific gender,” she said, adding that stakeholders in the STEM sector need to strengthen partnerships and ensure that more girls are mentored and guided into taking careers in the STEM fields.

Konza Data Centre Project Manager Yvonne Maua noted that mentorship for the young women is very critical once they are on board since it keeps them going as they grow in the field.

“We must also put an emphasis on the mentorship of young women in STEM. I say so in hindsight as I reminisce early days of work in the sector. My ICT journey was fused with a lot of mentorships which shaped me a great deal,” she said.

In this event that was also attended by other key women in the ICT sector, young women were also urged to identify role models for inspiration and development in their careers.
Citing testimonies from the industry, Ms. Celestine Ukpere from Shule Africa Kenya highlighted that with technology cutting across all sectors of the economy, women also need to link their careers with ICT and make use of science and technology for better businesses.

Since 2011, more than 377,000 girls and young women have participated in these celebrations across the world. Spearheaded by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), it is a day through which Governments, National Information Communication Technology (ICT) regulatory authorities, ICT companies, academic institutions, UN Agencies and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have been able to join hands in celebrating girls and encouraging them to actively consider careers in STEM.

The event was also attended by Eng. John Tanui, CEO KoTDA,  Ms. Rosalind Murithi, Director Risk Management and Internal Audit, Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), Ms. Charity Wanjiku, Co-Founder Strauss Energy Limited, Ms. Ashley Kibali, CEO/Founder Seventy Two Media Group and Caroline Muia ICT Manager, ICM in Konza.

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