The Ministry of Communications has launched a programme to develop the skills of girls and young women in information and communications technology (ICT) for national development.
Dubbed: ‘Ms Geek, Ghana’, the initiative seeks to support young females aged 13 and 25 years to develop innovative solutions to key national development challenges.
Apart from helping to bridge the gender gap in the digital space, the initiative also aims to demystify the study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by motivating females to pursue careers in those fields.
The programme is being rolled out through the collaborative effort of the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communication (GIFEC), the National Communications Authority (NCA) and the Accra Digital Centre (ADC), all agencies under the ministry.
The sector Minister, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, who launched the
Ms GEEK competition
The minister also announced the opening of applications for a Ms Geek Ghana competition to provide a platform for young females to develop and showcase digital tools and applications that could be used to tackle issues of sanitation, health, education and other key national challenges.
She said the 10 finalists in the competition would also be supported in capacity-building programmes and provided with resources to become ambassadors in the promotion of STEM education among their peers.
They would also become lead advocates for the empowerment of women in the digital space, she added.
According to Mrs Owusu-Ekuful, the overall winner of the competition would represent Ghana in the next Ms Geek Africa event in Guinea.
She described the programme as a dream come true for her and said the promotion of ICT and STEM for women was a top priority of the ministry.
“I have been looking forward to this day for the past two years and I am happy to see it come to reality today.
Women constitute 51 percent of the national population and play key roles in society, but if it comes to STEM and ICT, it is not the best; the statistics are bad.
This initiative will, therefore, try to end all forms of stereotypes against women in STEM and the digital space,” she said.
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said promoting ICT and STEM for females was a major step towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Five on gender parity.
Rwanda was the first country to roll out the initiative — Ms Geek, Rwanda — in 2014 to empower women in the use of technology.