I am not a computer or technology expert, but I wouldn’t know where I would have been without either technology. I dare to say, I am where I am because, I have always embraced and maximised the opportunities provided to me by technology the best way I could.
As a child I learnt my ABC at home on Television while watching Sesame Street in the early 80s. And from my ABC, I learnt to put ABCDE together to form a word and eventually few sentences. By the time I was enrolled in school at the age of 9, I could speak basic English even though it is not the language of communicating at home. I still remember the impressive look on the face of my school principal my first day of school after I had successfully answered all of her questions, and her declaration that I was not only too old to be in first year, but that I was ready to be in the next class.
While Television formed my childhood, Radio formed my teenage years. By the time I went into secondary school I was the best at comprehension and English language, not because I was necessarily better than anyone, but because I listen to as much radio and English programs as I could. I could read all English text, comprehension and complex sentences as well as write them before I was 15, which is an extreme rarity in those times.
I never envisaged myself having a career in the media, but that is exactly where life led me, and because of my English language proficiency, I excelled and was told by everyone I was a natural. I was able to get this far, not because I had any support, motivation, nor inspiration from my society, but because I am blessed to not only have some sort of technology in my life, but also because I deliberately put in effort to maximise its potentials. So, while every other person is getting entertained by a show, I am picking new words and lessons from the lines. While everyone is listening to the sound of the music, I am learning the lyrics. While everyone is enjoying the movie, I am scrutinising the dialogue for new words, phrases and expressions.
I grew up not having mentors, I couldn’t find any within my community no matter how hard I tried. It was on Television I found all the amazing women that inspired and motivated me to be more than just a wife and mother. Oprah Winfrey, Christiane Amanpour, Ronke Ayuba, Hauwa Baba Ahmed to name a few. I suppose I would not be wrong to say, if not for technology that provided me for a means to see these women and what they could achieve, I would have believed what I was always being told; that my only potential in life was that of a wife and mother. Indeed, if it weren’t for technology, I would probably be like one of many Girls in my peer group who are equally as brilliant, talented and had dreams, but ended up being only wives and mothers.
By the time I hit midlife crisis and decided I needed to turn my life around, technology was not just my mental escape route, but it also provided me the way out of the sinkhole. It enabled me to transform my ideas into reality, found and created platforms for self-development and empowerment not just for myself but for other vulnerable women and Girls. It opened up to me opportunities I never imagined I would have, and possibilities I never thought existed. This, was the impact Technology has had in my life, as I am sure in the lives of many other women like me. For a lot of women and Girls in third world countries especially those born without silver spoons in patriarchal societies like Nigeria have very limited opportunities or none at all. Technology disrupted the status quo, and opened up ways, opportunities and possibilities for us. It changed the narrative and gave people like US opportunities to achieve the impossible.
Gradually, women will soon grow into their fullest potential; Technology will help them achieve that for it is a leveller and equal opportunity provider that does not discriminate nor have any prejudices but respects the will and determination of a person to grow. Ensuring all women and Girls have access to technology is not only imperative, but extremely necessary as it holds withing it abundant resources that will not only enable them find mentors and network, socialise, educate and develop, but also learn about their sexual and reproductive health, rights, find value and self-confidence; something the previous generation of women lacked.
I always say the future is female, but indeed technology is the future. We therefore need it to reach every woman and every Girl child, because it is the platform they need to soar.