Celebrating International Girls in ICT Day: Nurturing Female Tech Leaders

The 25th of April yearly is a memorable day as the world comes together to celebrate International Girls in ICT Day. The commemoration of Girls in ICT Day is imperative, in that, it contributes to global effort to encourage and empower girls and young women to consider careers in the field of information and communication technologies (ICT).

Initiated by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), International Girls in ICT Day aims to address the gender digital divide by promoting equal opportunities for girls and women in the ICT sector.

The 2024 theme, “Leadership”, underscores the critical need for more girls in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) careers. Although women now fill 40% of high-skill occupations globally, their participation in ICT-related fields continues to be low. Women are nearly absent from software development, engineering, technology research, academia as well as at the highest levels of policy making. They also tend to leave science and technology jobs at higher rates than men.1

In Nigeria, this day holds particular significance as it aims to inspire change in the country’s ICT sector, where girls face numerous challenges. The empowerment of girls in ICT is crucial for the growth and development of Nigeria’s tech industry.

Following reports obtained from the World Economic Forum website, Nigeria’s ICT sector contributed 18% to the country’s GDP in the second quarter of 2022, up from less than 1% in 2001, but despite the sector’s rapid growth, the ecosystem remains largely dominated by men with very few women able to participate.

It is also worthy of note that, improvements have been made over the years to increase and promote women’s participation in the ICT sector, however, these challenges remain very evident, despite the country’s vibrant ICT opportunities and the presence of numerous tech startups and innovation hubs.

The underrepresentation of girls in ICT can be attributed to various factors, such as societal norms and gender stereotypes which often discourage girls from pursuing careers in technology. Deep-rooted beliefs about women’s roles in society can hinder their confidence and aspirations in the tech industry. Furthermore, limited access to quality education and the lack of emphasis on STEM subjects create barriers for girls in developing the necessary digital skills.

In many parts of Nigeria, especially rural areas, girls face barriers to accessing quality education, particularly in STEM which is not really included in the educational curriculum, (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields, which are foundational subjects for ICT careers.

In addition to this, girls in rural and underserved communities often lack access to computers, smartphones, and reliable internet connectivity, limiting their exposure to digital skills and opportunities.

To address these challenges and create a more inclusive environment for girls and women in Nigeria’s ICT sector, there is need:

  • To create support networks and funding opportunities specifically tailored to women entrepreneurs in the ICT sector. More Incubators, accelerators can provide financial support and mentorship tailored more to women-led tech startups.
  • For the Ministry of Education to encourage girls’ participation in STEM subjects from an early age by infusing it into the educational curriculum.
  • For scholarships, mentorship programs, and extracurricular activities focused on science and technology and targeted at young girls to increase the workforce.
  • To expand access to digital skills training and resources, particularly in rural and underserved areas. Mobile technology and online learning platforms can play a crucial role in delivering educational content to remote communities.

It is critical that stakeholders in the ICT industry, including governments, educational institutions, and organizations, take proactive steps to encourage and support girls pursuing careers in technology.

Empowering girls in ICT is more than just promoting gender equality; it is about maximizing the potential of talented individuals who can contribute to innovative solutions and drive economic progress for Nigeria and the world at large. Increasing women’s participation in technology will also help close the gender gap and address social inequalities in Nigeria.


  1. https://www.itu.int/women-and-girls/girls-in-ict/
  2. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2023/02/how-technology-can-help-close-nigeria-gender-gap/