By Kingsley I. Ilechukwu, Bureau Chief, South West
First Lady of Lagos State, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu has commended the initiative of Women Entrepreneurs and Executives in Tech Summit(WEETS) for its commitment in promoting new digital tools that can further empower other women while also serving as a source of inclusive global economic growth for the womenfolk.
The Lagos State First Lady took this stand in her address at the Women Entrepreneurs And Executives In Tech Summit, held on Thursday, September 14, 2023 at Radisson Blu Hotel, Isaac John Street, Ikeja GRA, Lagos, south west, Nigeria.
Dr. Sanwo-Olu did not stop at that but went ahead to give reasons for handing the thumbs-up to WEETS.
“I commend this initiative of Women Entrepreneurs and Executives in Tech Summit for two different reasons. Firstly, the concept of Women Entrepreneurs and Executives in Tech Summit encourages women to thrive in a field known to be male dominated. I had repeatedly insisted that our gender should not be seen as a restrictive barrier to what we can do as women and this summit further confirmed this.
Secondly, the need for women to be financially independent have been stressed over time and cannot be over emphasized. I am glad that this Summit apart from encouraging women to develop interest in technology, also seeks to provide a source of financial independence for women such that our women can also contribute to the nation’s economic growth, she said.
Permit me say that providing a platform for our women to develop interest in the technology industry is quite commendable and aligns with the Sustainable Development Goal 5 which advocates the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.
The Lagos First Lady’s address reads in part: “This efforts of creating opportunities for our women to thrive goes beyond the technology industry. There is need to encourage the full participation of women in other professional fields and in public leadership positions. More than before, our women must also develop interest in participating in politics and become active members of political parties of their interest.
Ladies and gentlemen, our women and girls need to understand the abundant opportunities offered by the digital age to improve their lives, career, and businesses and this explains why the organizers of this event, TECHlife Media and Communication, the producers of TECHlife with Ugo, had scheduled a panel discussion to be moderated by high-powered women drawn from the private and public sectors to further expose us to various opportunities in the digital world.
“Without pre-empting the panel discussants, the theme for this event “Breaking the glass ceiling for women and girls to thrive in the digital economy” is crucial for achieving gender equality and empowering individuals to reach their full potential.
In today’s rapidly advancing world, the digital economy offers countless opportunities for innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic growth. However, it is essential to address some barriers that hinder women and girls from fully participating in and benefiting from this digital revolution.
It is important to note that access to technology and digital literacy are fundamental in bridging the gender gap in the digital economy. Many women and girls face limited access to technology, internet connectivity, and digital training, which hinders their ability to develop the necessary skills to thrive in the digital world.
There should be deliberate initiatives implemented to provide equal access to technology and digital education, ensuring that women and girls have the tools and knowledge to navigate the digital landscape.
“Additionally, creating a supportive and inclusive environment is crucial for breaking the glass ceiling. Women and girls often face biases, stereotypes, and discrimination in the tech industry, which limits their opportunities for advancement.
It is essential to challenge these barriers and foster a culture that promotes gender diversity, equal representation, and equal pay. By creating inclusive workplaces and educational institutions, we can empower women and girls to pursue careers in technology, entrepreneurship, and leadership positions within the digital economy.
Like what the panel discussants will be doing today, mentorship and networking opportunities play a vital role in breaking the glass ceiling. Women and girls need access to role models and mentors who can provide guidance, support, and encouragement in their digital journey.
Establishing mentorship programmes, networking events, and platforms for knowledge-sharing can help women and girls connect with experienced professionals and gain valuable insights and opportunities.
“It is my belief that the panel of discussants will further dissect the topic for this event and close the identified gaps and barriers limiting our women and girls from attaining their full potentials in the tech world.
There are several initiatives from the state government specifically directed at our women and girls. Apart from the establishment of a Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation devoted to training and empowerment of women in diverse fields, there are other MDAs of the state government that perform complementary roles in creating platforms for women and girls .
The Office of the First Lady of Lagos State also initiated some programs for women and girls. As a matter of fact, the Office exists particularly to bridge identified gaps by empowering the populace and reaching the unreached.
“As I end this address, I plead with the organizers of this event, all relevant stakeholders here to continue to push for policies and advocacy in favour of breaking the glass ceiling in the digital economy.
Governments, civil society organizations, and private sector entities must collaborate to implement policies that promote gender equality, protect women’s rights, and ensure equal opportunities in the digital sphere.
Once again, I thank TECHlife Media and Communication, the producers of TECHlife with Ugo for organizing this event and for extending this invitation to me.
On this note, I declare this Summit open and pray that the lofty intentions of putting this together would materialize and accomplished.
Thank you all for your attention and welcome to “Women Entrepreneurs and Executives in Tech Summit. ”