Every 8th day of March is dedicated to celebrating women in the world as recognized by the United Nations. Government Organizations, the Private Sector, Civil Societal Organizations, and the Media among others utilize this day to lend their voice to celebrating women who are blazing the trail in contributing significantly to the World’s development in different capacities.

For this year, one can argue that the awareness gained better momentum in Nigeria, especially among corporate organizations, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs), and the youthful population who painted social media blue with several promotional materials as well as event flyers with the view of steering discussions around the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) “DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality”

Fountain University was not left out this year. Courtesy of the leadership of the first female Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Olayinka R. Karim, an online symposium was organized to rally discussion around the theme of this year’s IWD. And as a means of walking the talk, the Dean of the College of Basic Medical and Health Sciences (the only female Dean in the University), Dr. Mariam D. Adeoye was tasked with the responsibility of organizing the symposium.

Giving her opening address at the symposium, the Vice-Chancellor of Fountain University, Prof. Olayinka R. Karim premised the significance of the event around the need for women to embrace the prospect of the technological space, digitize their operations as a means of scaling upward faster in their chosen career.

According to her, women are still much underrepresented in the Nigerian technological space with about 28 percent presence in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM); many women are still victims of cyber-attacks and bullies among other varying negative statistics indicating that much is needed to be done in driving awareness and capacity development with the view of having more women in the technology space.

Prof. Karim noted that Fountain University is committed to supporting and providing the right platform for women to thrive in the technological space. She also committed that the university will continue to drive similar discussions that will enhance women’s operation in the digital space.

The lead speaker of the symposium, Prof. Aishat B. Akinwande of the Department of Food Science and Technology, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso concentrated her discussion on “Equitable Digital Future and what’s needed to achieve it”.

Prof. Akinwande who is also the Chairman of the Committee of Directors of Academic Planning of Nigerian Universities (CODAPNU), listed some of the pointers to having an equitable digital future including closing all gaps in digital access and skills, supporting women and girls in STEM, creating technologies that meet the needs of women and girls, addressing technology-facilitated gender-based violence among others. Her presentation slide can be downloaded here

In a related approach to discussing the theme of the 2023 IWD, the second speaker at the symposium, Dr. Adebisi K. AbdusSalam of the Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering of the University of Lagos, Akoka explained basic relevant IT terminologies and applications.

Dr. AbdusSalam further discussed the importance of having women invest more time in digitizing their operations and identified the importance Islam places on excellence and the promotion of equity and fairness. Her presentation slides can be downloaded here

The event also gave room for cross contributions where the immediate past Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Minna Prof. Musbau A. Akanji reflected on the submission of the two lead discussants. Prof. Akanji further challenged female participants on the call to take the lead in walking the talk to have a united front in achieving the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day celebration.

Other contributors include Prof. Oyegoke A. Lalude of the department of Political Science, Fountain University, and Dr. Nafisat A. Adedokun-Shittu of the University of Ilorin, among others.

The Symposium recorded over 50 participants from Academia, Religious Organizations, and Civil Society Organizations.

From Fountain University, this is to celebrate and encourage all women to create more impact in society. Happy International Women’s day!

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