At an International Women’s Day empowerment event themed ‘Balance for better’ in Lagos on Friday, Google announced the launch of 18 new Womenwill chapters across sub-Saharan Africa to drive conversations that promote gender equality for the benefit of everyone.
Google Africa’s Brand and Reputation lead, Mojolaoluwa Akinremi-Makinde, described Womenwill as a Google initiative aimed to create economic opportunity for women everywhere so that they could grow and succeed.
According to her, the programme will help women to make the most of technology to build skills, get inspired, and connect with each other through training, events and advocacy.
“The gender gap can be solved if women have the same access to resources and skill acquisition sources as men. This is why we’re expanding the Womenwill chapters in SSA and continuing our focus on diversity and gender equality into 2019 and beyond,” Akinremi-Makinde said.
She stated that the new chapters were located across sub-Saharan Africa in cities including Accra, Cape Town, Dar es Salaam, Johannesburg, Lekki and Onitsha, bringing the total number of chapters in Africa to 25, with more to launch in the coming weeks.
According to her, the chapters are being launched simultaneously at events in Johannesburg, South Africa; Nairobi, Kenya; and Lagos, Nigeria following a week in which digital skills masterclasses held at various locations in these countries, involving some 5,000 women.
The Country Director, Google Nigeria, Juliet Ehimuan-Chaizor, said research had shown that a lot of women were employed in lower paid jobs in the informal sector, adding that a 2018 gender gap report indicated that it would take up to 165 years to close the gender gap.
According to her, the statistics are unacceptable because of the impact the gender inequality can have on society.
Ehimuan-Chaizor added that the Womenwill programme would empower African women with the right skills for them to grow appropriately.
“Since 2016, we have worked to upskill young people and Small and Medium Enterprises living and opearting in Africa via our Digital Skills for Africa programme to help them find jobs and grow their businesses,” Akinremi-Makinde said. “Our digital skills training has been offered in 29 countries across Africa with over a million people recording business growth, starting new businesses, finding jobs or growing in their current jobs. We have trained more than three million people in total of which 48 per cent are women.
“This year, we are playing our part in the contribution to women empowerment and we will be expanding the reach of our Grow with Google programmes in SSA to focus on women empowerment as a key pillar. We aim to empower women with the right skills, coaching, mentorship and community support to access opportunities,” she commented.