2023 International Girls’ Day: Stakeholders urge young girls to aggressively pursue leadership, digital literacy skills

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With the advent of ICTs and Artificial intelligence, it is no longer news that technological innovations now drive things. However, the gender inequality parity within the socio-economic domain is also found to exist within the scope and the dynamism of innovative use of information technology.

Thus, it was apt, that as part of efforts to commemorate the 2023 International Girls Day (IGD), that young girls in secondary schools were sensitised and made aware of the need to develop appropriate leadership and digital literacy skills so that they are relevant in the scheme of affairs.

This was the underpinning objective of the Initiative for Social Impact and Sustainable Development (ISISD) at an interactive programme held for secondary school girls in Abeokuta, Ogun State, recently. The interactive session, organised by ISISD with support from Centre for Children’s Health Education, Orientation and Protection (CEE-HOPE) and Innate Communications was centred around the IGD 2023 theme: “Invest in Girls Rights: Our Leadership, Our Well-being.”

ISISD Coordinator, Funmi Falobi, who was lead facilitator at the event noted that it was imperative to keep encouraging girls so that they are not left behind but motivated and mentored to exhibit potentials that would take them to the top. “As girls and emerging women, you cannot afford to be pushed aside in the affairs of life, but you must strive to do your best to excel and showcase your potential for a better society”, she said, noting that the theme of the 2023 IGD served as a call for young girls to believe in themselves and brace up for leadership opportunities that would launch them to the global stage.

She also challenged them to be digitally savvy in the world of technology that is changing the narratives around the world. While looking at women who had proved their worth in business, governance, industries and career, Falobi enjoined the girls not to settle for less in life.”For the fact that you are girls you are at a disadvantage, but despite the challenges facing girls, you must be motivated to be great in life. Women are doing great in various fields of endeavour including politics, so don’t let anything limit you. Don’t let anyone shut you down in achieving your goals,” she charged.

Looking at the ancient city of Abeokuta and the impact of great women from the historic town in Nigeria in particular and Africa in general, the girls were enjoined not to be discouraged but weather the storm to be great.”Ogun State has produced great women with great impact in Nigeria and Africa. It is important to learn from this. Face your studies, have role models and mentors and this will help you greatly in attaining your full potential in life. You are a leader, don’t let anyone look down on you or limit your vision,” Falobi said.

She also encouraged the girls to look into taking up career in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) saying, “these are areas girls do not delve into” .

As the world is now a global village as a result of technology, it is important girls are not left behind but encouraged to take interest in digital literacy to bridge the gap.”

At the interactive programme, the girls explained that some of the challenges they face include inadequate parental attention, bullying, low self-esteem, lack of encouragement to pursue their goals among others. They however showed the interest to be great leaders to contribute their quotas in the society.

While commending the organisers for the programme, Mrs. Hannah Adeneye, Head, Vocational Department, Muslim High School, Abeokuta, said girls must not limit themselves but know that the world is waiting for their manifestation.”There’s nothing boys are doing that you cannot do. They have enlightened us today and I want you to venture into the Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics courses. Don’t limit yourself to feminine courses alone. We have women doing great in technology and we want to have more. And I’m sure you have made up your mind to be one of the greatest females in science oriented courses and be great leaders in life,” she advised.

Apart from the interactive session, sanitary pads and educational materials were distributed to the girls.

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