WiEN activates 2023 IWD with Mentoring Walk

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The Women in Energy Network (WIEN) on Saturday, March 4, formally kicked off its high-powered activities lined up to commemorate the 2023 edition of the International Women’s Day (IWD) with a Global Mentoring Walk, in partnership with Vital Voices.

The 2023 IWD is commemorated under the theme of: “Embrace Equity”, while this year’s Global Mentoring Walk, which went virtual, was themed; “Time for Audacious Action”.

The Vital Voices Mentoring Session commits more women and girls to actively take advantage of the global opportunities in transformative technology and digital education and further explore the impact of the digital gender gap on widening economic and social inequalities.

“The observance will explore the impact of the digital gender gap on widening economic and social inequalities, and it will also spotlight the importance of protecting the rights of women and girls in digital spaces and addressing online and ICT-facilitated gender-based violence,” according to the United Nations.

WIEN has traditionally partnered with Vital Voices for the Global Mentoring Walk since 2020 and has provided a forum for selected successful persons to mentor participants drawn from the business, academic, social circles.

This year’s WIEN’s Global Mentoring Walk event gathered nearly 50 participants comprising young school girls, upcoming entrepreneurs and others to sessions where they are mentored by established practitioners featuring as Special Guests from Oracle Academy, WEConnect International, APWEN, CBWN and Lonadek Global Services.

Mentor and Special Guest on the occasion, Mrs Bekere Alagbe, harped on the need for aspiring young women to overcome the social barriers and hurdles as they seek mentorship and guidance to excel in their career paths in business, sports, academic, and others.

She enjoined the established and accomplished women to accept the mentorship of these aspiring girls and help provide them equitable opportunities to develop.

According to Alagbe, equality in opportunities in society does not necessarily translate into equity, as the former does not solve emerging problems; further stressing that mentorship helps to close the skill gaps across the gender divide.

“As mentors, we should be able to build equitable access to those who seek mentorship, especially the girl teenagers, whether it be financial, career, academic or emotional guidance.

“And for the young women, you cannot afford to stay in your house and expect opportunities to come looking for you. You need to venture out into the work space and maximize your own potential through volunteering and improving yourself.

“Also, you need to believe in yourself and aspire to upskill as part of work.

The main session hosted four breakout rooms for mentors to engage their subjects  on topics STEM workforce; role of women towards global economic development; maintaining work-life balance; and leadership.

At the end of the mini session in the four virtual rooms, the main participants regrouped as representatives shared their experiences from the separate breakout sessions.

WIEN was represented by Damilola Owolabi as a Mentor and Special guest to facilitate a session on the theme of the walk: “Time for Audacious Action”.

Ms Owolabi talked about the role of mentorship in the growth and development of girls and women in education and in the workforce.

According to Thomas Dogara, who spoke on behalf of other participants after the mini sessions, said; “it is vital to involve a lot of younger STEM girls into sports, and to bridge the gap between sports and academics particularly for girls. This can help them create and encourage a healthy lifestyle among the younger generation. And use the values gained to build sustainable solutions for the future.”

WIEN’s programmes to celebrate the IWD 2023 are expected to continue from this March through to April, this year, with activities lined up in Abuja, Port Harcourt, in Rivers State, as well as, Lagos.

According to the UN, 37 per cent of women do not use the internet while 259 million fewer women have access to the Internet than men, even though they account for nearly half the world’s population.

“If women are unable to access the internet and do not feel safe online, they are unable to develop the necessary digital skills to engage in digital spaces, which diminishes their opportunities to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) related fields By 2050, 75{386c84d99906b098df35b5eeea2fc10f4908f7e59473bd50e4b20e40f56c6e15} of jobs will be related to STEM areas. Yet today, women hold just 22{386c84d99906b098df35b5eeea2fc10f4908f7e59473bd50e4b20e40f56c6e15} of positions in artificial intelligence, to name just one.

“Bringing women into technology results in more creative solutions and has greater potential for innovations that meet women’s needs and promote gender equality. Their lack of inclusion, by contrast, comes with massive costs,” the organization posits.

The United Nations annually sets aside March 8 to commemorate the IWD globally. Events around the world celebrating the day already kicked off as early as last month, February.


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