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In the wake of last week’s International Girls in ICT Day, ITU News is placing a spotlight on Bénin, whose government is showing leadership in the area of gender and tech. This article includes extracts of a video report produced and broadcast by the Office de Radiodiffusion et Télévision du Bénin for the occasion of International Girls in ICT Day, which Bénin is celebrating on Friday.
The information and communication technology (ICT) sector in Bénin has been male-dominated for the duration of Nadine Kiki Migan’s career.
“It’s true that many feel that telecommunications is a man’s job,” says Ms Kiki Migan, head of the technical center at Libercom SA, a mobile operator in Bénin. “The proof is, when I was in school, I was the only girl out of ten. When I was a trainee, I was the only girl out of 50. Today, I am the only woman among men.”
But today, the status quo in Bénin is set to change.
For the second year in a row, the Government of Bénin has organized activities on Girls in ICT Day to encourage girls and young women to pursue careers in ICT.
This year, girls and young women have followed training sessions on how to code, and set up a network to support each other in their pursuit of ICT careers.
This video report, produced by the Office de Radiodiffusion et Télévision du Bénin, features women in leadership positions delivering inspiring messages for Girls in ICT Day.
“There is nothing taboo about ICTs,” affirms Chakirath Akambi Talon, an analyst in network engineering at Bénin Télécoms Infrastructures. “You just need to have the will to make a decision, and to try to understand how that sector works, too. And to be strong, not to be afraid of the obstacles.”
Zérose Gokou, head of network services at Bénin Télécom Services declares: “It is a choice I made as a way to rise to a challenge. A personal challenge and a challenge with regard to the female sex to restore, improve or change the image we have of women by saying: ‘These jobs are for men, and these other jobs are for women.’ I wanted to defy this tendency by choosing ICTs.”
“This year [for Girls in ICT Day] we will train a certain number of young women how to code. … We will show them that coding is not just a field for men.” — Aurélie Adam Soulé Zoumarou, Minister of the Digital Economy and Communication
Aurélie Adam Soulé Zoumarou, Minister of the Digital Economy and Communication explains: “The digital sector is booming. It is a sector of opportunity. If you like working in this sector, you can do great things for your country, for your continent. What I want to say to young women who perhaps are hesitating today and are wondering if they are well-suited for this sector, is yes, they are well-suited to this sector, and they should not hesitate to embrace these careers”.
“This year [for Girls in ICT Day] we will train a certain number of young women how to code. We will show them that this is not wizardry,” adds the Minister. We will show them that coding is not just a field for men. That women are well equipped (…) with the same capacity as men to approach these technical problems”.
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