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IWD: Google Unveils Initiative, WomenWill, targeting 50,000 Women Across Africa

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In a bid to create economic opportunities for African women to aid their growth, Google on Friday in Lagos unveiled a new initiative, WomenWill, targeting 50,000 women across Africa.

The Google Africa Brand & Reputation Lead, Mrs Mojolaoluwa Akinremi-Makinde, while unveiling the initiative said that eighteen new WomenWill chapters had been opened across Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

Akinremi-Makinde said that the initiative was in honour of the 2019 International Women’s Day, which has the theme: “Balance for Better”.

“Womenwill is a Google initiative aimed at creating economic opportunity for women everywhere, so that they can grow and succeed.

“Helping women make the most of technology to build skills, get inspired, and connect with each other through training, events and advocacy, Womenwill aims to drive conversations promoting gender equality to benefit everyone,” she said.

The Google lead said that the gender gap that existed between men and women could be resolved, if women had the same access to resources and skill acquisition sources as men.

Bridging this gender gap. she said, was the motivation for expanding the Womenwill chapters in Sub-Saharan Africa and continuing Google’s focus on diversity and gender equality into 2019 and beyond.

“The 18 new chapters are located across Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) 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 be launched in the coming weeks.

“Today’s chapters are being launched simultaneously at events in Johannesburg, South Africa, Nairobi in Kenya and Lagos, Nigeria following a week in which Digital Skills Masterclasses were held at various locations in these countries, involving some 5000 women.

“Since 2016, we have worked to upskill young people and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) living in Africa via our Digital Skills for Africa programme to help them find jobs and grow their businesses.

“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 3 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 programs 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 said.

The Country Director of Google, Mrs Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazo, said that the theme for the day, “balance for better” had to do with creating equal opportunity and when done would ensure a balanced world.

She said that some of the driving forces that makes room for the barriers that existed were: children not allowed to get education, child marriage, unfair treatment of widows in certain culture and others.

“Creating equal opportunity results in a balanced society. Everyone needs to be empowered so as to be able to fulfill their dreams, there should be no marginalisation.

“Gender equality is more than a goal itself but a need to ensure good governance, key to achieving a sustainable development goal,” Ehimuan-Chiazo said.

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