Oreoluwa Somolu

Ashoka Fellow

Citation

This profile was prepared when Oreoluwa Somolu was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2013.
The New Idea
Oreoluwa is positioning women to effectively use ICT in their daily lives and to play leading roles in the technology sector by creating female-friendly enabling environments in which they can learn and work. Oreoluwa understands the need for and uses gender-differentiated strategies at the school, community, and workplace to support women entering technology-related fields.

Oreoluwa’s organization, Women’s Technology Empowerment Center (W.TEC), partners with schools to create friendly, female-only learning environments, in which young girls are taught ICT skills using the W.TEC curriculum. Oreoluwa has also created enabling environments for adolescent girls and adult women. W.TEC runs a women-only ICT center that provides childcare support and training services to those women who need it. The center is open at reasonable hours for women who must first complete household chores and is located in a safe and friendly area for females. In this center, she is showcasing how ICT skills can empower women to socialize, educate and express themselves, and gain financial independence in a flexible way that accommodates their existing roles and responsibilities.

Oreoluwa is also creating a network of successful women who use technology-related skills to earn a living. These women serve as mentors to young girls who show promise in this field, thereby creating the support network needed to overcome the isolation of women in this space. This network and W.TEC’s partnerships provide scholarship information for girls who want to pursue higher education in technology and internship opportunities to gain hands-on experience. In addition, Oreoluwa is taking care to document the success of these women to build a case for increased incorporation of women in technology education and careers. In this way, she is bridging the gender digital divide by tackling the barriers preventing women from using technology and their fear of these tools. Ultimately, Oreoluwa is dispelling stereotypes of what is gender appropriate in terms of technology-related education and careers and in doing so, opening up the world and pathways to economic success to Nigerian women.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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