Alvin Worzi and Hannah N. Geterminah
The false perception that disciplines in technology belong in the domain of the male gender came under the spotlight as Liberian women and girls dialogued first-hand with leading women in Liberia’s technology space. The event, labeled “Ladies in Tech”, was created as a platform for women tech-makers to support and motivate young ladies with lack or little of tech skills to develop and sustain interest in technology and expose them to training opportunities.
The one-day event, on Saturday, May 5, was held under the theme, “Breaking the Barriers for Ladies in Technology.”
Serving as guest speaker, Lofa County District #4 Representative, Mariamu B. Fofana, challenged Liberian women to take advantage of information and communications technology (ICT) to achieve their potential.
According to her, there is a dire need for women and girls around the world to achieve a level playing field by advancing themselves ICT. Advancing women’s leadership in this sector with specific emphasis on entrepreneurship development, she added, remains cardinal.
“Gender imbalance is a critical issue globally affecting women. The need to narrow the gap should be our paramount concern in the broader spectrum,” Rep. Fofana said.
In order for the ladies to break the barriers in technology, she said, they must exert the energy and skills to advance national policies and legislation as well as programs that will be accepted in moving women and girls forward in the technological world.
“We must create unique awareness for women and girls for them to participate and develop specific programs with adequate budgetary allocation to help achieve it,” Rep. Fofana said adding, “Mrs. Mai Urey Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and founder of Wulki Farm [and other] women around this table are here because they had confidence in themselves when they started out in technology. They did not became successful over night.”
Mrs. Urey, who served as a panelist, called on the girls to be motivated to support each other, both in ideas and development, stating “I was the first person to introduce internet technology in Liberia.”
Madam Marie G. Harrison, Acting Chairperson, Liberia Telecommunications Authority, said, “If women are focused, determined and have interest in going for what they want, they can do whatsoever thing a man can do in technology.”
“Being a female is a major challenge in Africa,” Harrison, who also served as a panelist, said. “But I want all girls to keep trying as they get along the way.”
Mrs. Uche Ofodle, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Lonestar Cell MTN, called on the ladies to try their best to be on par with their male counterparts, no matter how challenging it may be.
“During my youthful age, I did not see myself in technology because I was not good in mathematics; but I am glad that I ended up in technology. I have been there for the last 20 years. I did a lot of marketing and somehow found myself in telecommunications in 2001, when they first introduced technology in our country,” said panelist Ofodle, a Ghanaian national.
Peterking Quaye and Bendu Weeks who also served as panelists told the ladies in tech to be strong and learn more because there are more opportunities on the job market for women than for men.
Accounting to them, the first road to success is to dream. The lead Organizer of Ladies in Tech, Ms. Aisha Dukulé, in welcome remarks said the objective of Ladies in Tech is to develop the minds of young ladies who are interested in technology and do not have access to those tools to enable them get into the field of study.
She said the program is all about empowering and encouraging young women to develop interest in technology. Dukulé said it is important to build your knowledge in technology because the whole world is using technology and it is the best opportunity for growth and work that make people successful.
She told Ladies to develop the same interest, to be supportive of each other and also work together, which will help them achieve their goals in the soonest possible time.