In commemoration of International Women’s Day, IWD 2022, Nigeria’s retail lender, Unity Bank Plc is partnering AltSchool Africa to sponsor female students towards the acquisition of specialist software skills – an empowerment initiative to boost the capacity of the female gender.
AltSchool Africa is a school for individuals looking to gain technical skills and kick start a career in Software Engineering. The school currently prides itself on the large enrolment of female students. Unity Bank Plc is providing funds to encourage enrolment of young female students into AltSchool who will pursue a career in Informational Technology.
The Bank said in a statement that the gesture has become imperative to #BreakTheBias against women in the emerging information technology industry, where a recent study by ONE Campaign and the Center for Global Development, showed that less than 30 per cent of technology companies in Nigeria are owned by women, even as the female members of the entire tech ecosystem workforce constituted less than 20 per cent.
Speaking on the partnership, Unity Bank’s Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mrs. Tomi Somefun said the initiative to extend the scholarships to the young women looking to start a career in the IT industry not only aligned with the theme of the IWD 2022, “#BreakTheBias,” but is in tandem with the Bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility and sustainability initiative targeting education and empowerment.
She said: “The International Women’s Day is yet another opportunity to reexamine the critical role that women continue to play in building a peaceful and prosperous society. Today, more than ever before, we are confronted by the harsh realities of gender-based exclusivity, especially in the workplace.
“I agree that some progress has been made but we must not be distracted by this momentary success because, over the next decade, the share of jobs requiring medium to digital skills would have risen to more than 50 per cent. Therefore, we must remain committed to empowering women who are courageous to make a difference in careers that have hitherto excluded the women, such as the IT industry.”.
According to Mrs. Somefun, “The advancement in technology has created a new world order that must be deliberate about inclusivity, removing biases and unlearning stereotypes. If future prosperity shall be defined by technological and requisite skills, we must not repeat the mistakes of the past by ensuring diversity, equity and inclusivity and empower our women to take an active part in creating that future.”
The International Women’s Day, IWD is a day set aside globally to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women and reflect on action to accelerate gender equality. This years’ theme #BreakTheBias “imagines a gender-equal world, a world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination; a world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive; a world where difference is valued and celebrated.”
•Photo: Some female staff pose for a photo at Unity Bank HQ in Lagos in commemoration of the International Women’s Day 2022 celebration.