An education in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics disciplines (STEM) is a necessity for everyone, especially girls who desire to be counted among future global citizens, said Mrs. Gozy Ijogun, managing director, TD Mobile.
Mrs. Ijogun made the remark during in her speech on Tuesday at the 2017 Girls in ICT Day celebration organized by e-Business Life at Oriental Hotel, Lagos, stressing that this is an era in which the world will come to rely, more than ever, on its female population to show the way forward.
“Actually, we are approaching what is being regarded as the age of super-computers and artificial intelligence: a world in which robots will play a greater role in our society and replacing humans in various fields of endeavor including law, warehousing, factories and traffic control: an age in which driver-less cars are expected to come into place, radically revolutionizing society’s dynamics; a world in which many individuals and entire continents will be left behind in the relentlessly fast-paced nature of global digital evolution.
“In this current age that we find ourselves, an education in the STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) is a necessity for everyone if you desire to be counted among future global citizens. This is an era in which the world will come to rely, more than ever, on its female population to show the way forward.
“If you are still in doubt about your role in the emerging global order; if you still regard Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics or a career in Information and Communication Technology as one for the boys; if you are still innocently unaware of the sweeping ICT revolution today and if you remain skeptical of your role in shaping the course of Nigeria’s history, then think again”, she said.
According to the TD Mobile boss, women, the world over, are breaking the shackles that have long held them back. “For all of us in this room and other young girls and women in Nigeria, we must wake up from our slumber or stand the risk of being left behind”, she advocated. “Angela Merkel, German Chancellor, a woman, is the most powerful person in Germany today. Hilary Clinton, another woman, came so close to becoming the President of the most powerful country in the world today – the United States of America. Indeed, many believe there was external interference in the elections else she would have emerged winner. And to bring it further home, Amina Mohammed, a woman, a Nigerian, was recently appointed the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations”.
Mrs. Ijogun reiterated that in the corporate world as well, a number of women have taken the bold step of not only embracing the STEM disciplines but also making a successful career in the ICT industry.
“The list is seemingly endless…Sheryl Sandberg is today the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, one of the world’s most popular social media engine. Angela Ahrendts is Senior Vice President of Apple’s retail and online stores – a woman who reportedly earned more than CEO, Tim Cook last year. YouTube, which I am sure many of you use, has a female CEO. Her name is Susan Wojcicki. IBM, one of the world’s most successful technology companies also has a female CEO, Virginia Rometty.
“What about HP? CEO Meg Whitman is a woman. Same goes for Yahoo! The company’s CEO is a woman: Marissa Mayer and Oracle, another globally renowned technology company recently promoted Safra Catz, a woman, to the position of co-CEO.
“Gone are the days when it was said that the world we live in is a man’s world or when certain disciplines, jobs or occupations were believed to be the sole preserve of the men-folk. These days, the world no longer cares about your gender but about your capabilities, your zeal and your capacity to deliver the goods,” she said.
She charged the girls to be ready to stand up and be counted, as the place of young girls and women in the global scheme of things cannot be over-emphasized.
“After all, women make up more than half of the world’s population. In Nigeria, for instance, despite the absence of reliable statistics, current fertility and birth rates indicate that females outnumber their male counterparts by four to one.
“If we have such a preponderance of girls being born, it goes without saying that we must play a much more crucial role in the development of our society. Indeed, no society can achieve any form of significant development without the active involvement and participation of its females.
“According to Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg: ‘No industry or country can reach its full potential until women reach their full potential. This is especially true of science and technology, where women with a surplus of talent still face a deficit of opportunity.’
“Former First Lady of the United States of America, Michelle Obama also toes the same line as Sandberg in her contribution on this issue. In her words: ‘We need all hands on deck, and that means clearing all hurdles for women and girls as they navigate careers in science, technology, engineering and math.’
“Tyler Golden, renowned Talent Manager also had this to say: ‘When you consider that women make up half the world’s population and workforce, but they hold a much smaller percentage of its technology jobs, it’s clear that our industry is missing out on a big potential source of talent,’” she reminded guests at the e-Business Life event.
Citing her background in STEM as crucial in building TD and TD mobile brand in Nigeria, Mrs. Ijogun, said, “To begin with, I do not think that I am more intelligent than any of you in this room. Your generation is more exposed, more aware of information and more open to new ideas and sophisticated learning tools than we had when I was at your age. My little daughter is a very good example of this. Her vocabulary and sense of awareness, even at a very tender age, never ceases to amaze me.
“I must, however, point out that the journey begins from this stage of your lives. I had always fancied the STEM disciplines and as a result, I made it a dream to pursue a career in the sciences. I started out by studying Chemistry in my first degree. I probably wouldn’t have been able to achieve this if I hadn’t embraced the various science subjects in my formative years in High School. After completing my first degree, I had proceeded to enroll for a Master’s degree in Accounting, Organization and Institution which I achieved with distinction from the London School of Economics.
“This educational background certainly paved the way for me to seek a career in the ICT sector where I first started out working with HP before joining my current organization, Technology Distributions Ltd. in 2013. It was while here that we launched TD Mobile in 2014, the entity I currently head, and which within the space of three years, has become the biggest mobile devices distributor not only in Nigeria but in the West African sub-region”.