It’s called empowerment, and that is what the African country of Nigeria hopes to instill in young schoolgirls as more of them seek studies in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). For years, girls were encouraged to avoid high-tech classes around the world that boys were excelling at and instead, to take easier studies that focused on longtime female stereotypes suited for wives and mothers. Now, these countries have realized the female potential in turn attempt to make up for lost time. To improve the gender imbalance, various organizations have even established all-girl initiatives designed to provide young women with the proper 21st-century skillset in areas of STEM.
IT is exploding across Africa, and these initiatives are inspiring more girls and young women to enroll in programs like computer science. These classes, activities and school science camps are showing girls how mobile computing power can change the world.
For example, CNN Hero award recipient Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin, a Lagos computer programmer, has seen plenty of poverty in Nigeria where young women don’t have access to a good education. She has begun changing the view for a lot of teens by offering a free program, GirlsCoding. The technical skills classes are led by the Pearls Africa Foundation and aim to inspire and excite girls about computer programming and its vast global connection.
Ms. Ajayi-Akinfolarin says that the gender gap is still too wide with men dominating the technical space. She believes that women need these opportunities for better access to further education and jobs, and she encourages these young minds to believe that their future is bright regardless of where they come from.
Getting young girls at the primary grade level to receive basic programming skills and building a strong foundation in science subjects for them are positive initiatives her organization believes in. InspireIT’s STEM programs have attracted funding from some huge names like Google. In 2017, InspireIT was awarded the Africa Code Week Google Micro Grant.
These young and gaining initiatives show good signs on the horizon of STEM in Africa.