To mark the International Girls in ICT Day, 2020, Interswitch Group, a leading Nigerian Pan-African digital payment and commerce Solutions Company, joined the world to celebrate and encourage young girls in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector.
With this year’s theme being: “Girls in ICT: Inspiring the Next Generation”, two tech women at Interswitch took to Instagram Live, to share their journey through tech while celebrating girls and young women consistently striving to reconstruct the ICT narrative.They were EddidiongAsikpo and IfeanyichukwuOnwurah, both of whom shared their journey so far in the ICT sector.
They talked about their career trajectories, from young girls in science to now full-blown women in ICT. They encouraged girls in STEM, related with their current struggles and painted a beautiful picture of the future in the tech sector.
Edidiong Asikpo, Software Engineer at Interswitch, and anchor of the live session began the session by reiterating that the ICT Day was created to encourage girls to consider careers in ICT. She went ahead to speak about her transition from Medicine to Tech.
“I never wanted to become anything technical. I applied to study Medicine and Surgery in the university. When that did not work out, I started at Innovation Hub at Akwa Ibom to learn Application Development. Tech started to become cool because I thought I would start doing what the big boys at Facebook do. Indeed, tech has afforded me access to greater opportunities and contributes to making life better”. She went further to add that for the next generation to be copped into tech, they would need to be intentional about it, by searching for opportunities and being open to mentorship.
This is one of the many roles Interswitch currently plays, and is willing to continue to play, in raising the next generation of tech girls and women who’ll make disruptive impact in the tech space.
Ifeanyichukwu Onwurah, Senior IT Service Management Analyst at Interswitch, talked about her journey into tech as a rough one and described it as “Failing forward”.
“At some point in the university, I lost enthusiasm. I failed a lot, struggled through school and didn’t quite understand my purpose. All I wanted to do was look pretty in a pretty job”, Ifeanyichukwu said.
“After training school, I was deployed to the Tech Department where I struggled in my mind again, for nine months. However, Tech has turned out to be the best decision that I ever made. I was inspired by my Group Head, who answered all my questions and helped me through a mind switch. So, I made up my mind not to be defined by my school grades and this drove me to be better at my work. Seven years later, I’m no longer where I used to be and it has been an exciting journey so far.”
Both ladies concluded by encouraging young girls to pursue their tech dreams with grit and deliberateness. They also admonished parents to support their girls by providing useful learning resources especially in their formative years.
International Girls in ICT Day is an International Telecommunication Union (ITU) initiative and global movement, to encourage girls and young women to consider studies and careers in ICT. It is annually celebrated on the Fourth Thursday of April.
Tech is continuous,and the world is progressing from gender bias in the tech space to gender inclusion. Interswitch has made it a point of duty to bring in more women into the tech space through their InterswitchSPAK and STEMLIKEAGIRL Initiatives.
The InterswitchSPAK Annual Science Competition is one of the ways through which Interswitch creates an equal opportunity environment for more girls to chart a career path in ICT. Since the start of the competition in 2018, there has been an impressive Increase In the participation of girls.