Speaking at the session, Halima Dangote, Executive Director and daughter of Africa’s richest man, premised Dangote Group’s support for women leader in technology on the need to “sustainably integrate and empower women in the wave of digital led globalization that is redefining humanity.”
Halima Dangote who serves as an Executive Director at Africa’s giant conglomerate, Dangote Industries Limited, ignited insightful conversations on the convergence of leadership, technology advancement and gender parity. She highlighted the multiplier effect any investment made in women and girls have on economies and called for more deliberate women participation in key leadership roles specifically in the ICT space which is reputed to be traditionally dominated by men.
According to the World Economic Forum “Women make a smaller share of the overall workforce in technology companies and are even more under-represented when considering technology related roles.” To close the gender gap, more women need to be empowered and encouraged to take up roles in the tech sector.
However, despite the increased focus on gender gap in the work place and the society, significant gains have been made by organizations invested in integrating and empowering women entrepreneurs. Worthy of note is the “Dangote Foundation multi-billion naira micro grant initiative” targeted at rural women across the federation. The women empowerment initiative provided financial resource to women beneficiaries and also cell-phones to help connect and share information in a progressive way.
In addition, the Dangote Women Network (DWN) active in the area of championing professional development for women through collaboration, also raised over N20million for women and children IDPs in Nigeria last year and 4,000 Euros in Senegal.
Five women led startups who participated at the session were able to showcase how innovation by and for women have yielded technology driven business successes. They include: Stephanie Obi, Founder/CEO of St Hub, an online course content creator; Joy Chukwu, CEO, Smart Hire, a platform for connecting professionals with job opportunities; Morenike Hemba, CEO, Novaria Trust, a platform that offers a variety of tech/media services; Thelma Chukwu, CEO, Roomies Connect, a platform offering a room-mate matching services and Damilola Teidi, CEO, Gomyway services, a platform for connecting travelers with drivers who have spare seats.
The women tech entrepreneurs were full of gratitude to the organisers and Dangote Group for providing a platform that promotes women empowerment and integration especially in the ICT industry.