Featured Storyteller

NIGERIA: On Women, Girls, and the Power of Technology

Hawwah
Posted October 7, 2021 from Nigeria
Young girl in front of laptop / Photo © Santi Nuñez

On this International Day of the Girl, Hawwah speaks to the importance of girls having access to the digital tools that will help them soar.

“I always say the future is female, but indeed technology is the future.

On this International Day of the Girl Child, I urge all of us to look for ways to empower girls to access technology, so that they may have the best chance of succeeding in life.

I dare say, I am where I am because I have always embraced and maximized the opportunities technology has provided me. As a child I learnt my ABCs at home while watching Sesame Street in the early 1980s. And from my ABCs, I learnt to put ABCDE together to form words and eventually a few sentences. By the time I was enrolled in school at the age of 9, I could speak basic English even though it was not the language we used at home. I still remember the impressed look on the face of my school principal on my first day of school after I had successfully answered all of her questions. She declared 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 shaped my childhood, radio shaped my teenage years. By the time I started secondary school, I was the best at comprehension and English language, not because I was better than anyone else, but because I listened to as many radio and English programs as possible. I could read English texts, comprehend complex sentences, as well as write them before I was 15 — an extreme rarity in those times.

I was able to succeed in my career as an adult not because I had any support, motivation, or inspiration from my society, but because I was blessed to have technology in my life and because I deliberately put in the effort to maximize its potential.  While others were being entertained by a show, I picked up new words and lessons from the lines. While others listened to the sound of the music, I learned the lyrics. While everyone enjoyed the movie, I scrutinized the dialogue for new words, phrases, and expressions.

I grew up without mentors. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t find any within my community. It was on television that I met the amazing women who inspired and motivated me to be more than a wife and mother: Oprah Winfrey, Christiane Amanpour, Ronke Ayuba, Hauwa Baba Ahmed to name a few. It would not be wrong to say, if not for the technology that provided me with a means to see what women could achieve, I would have believed what I had always been told: that my only potential in life was to be a good wife and good mother. Indeed, if it weren’t for technology, I would probably be like many girls in my peer group who had dreams and are equally as brilliant and talented, but who ended up limiting themselves to live as only wives and mothers.

By the time I hit midlife and decided I needed to turn my life around, technology was not just my mental escape route: It provided me with a way out of the sinkhole. Tech enabled me to transform my ideas into reality. It opened me up to opportunities I never imagined I would have, and possibilities I never thought existed. 

Gradually, girls who are afforded access to technology will 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 all over the world have access to technology is not only imperative, but necessary as it holds within it abundant resources to allow them to succeed.

Technology enables young women to network, socialize, find mentors, be educated, develop self-confidence, and learn about things like their sexual and reproductive health and rights. Technology can help girls access information and opportunities, and even gain self-esteem and understanding of their own value— opportunities previous generations of women have 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 technology is the platform they need to soar.


STORY AWARDS

This story was published as part of World Pulse's Story Awards program. We believe every woman has a story to share, and that the world will be a better place when women are heard. Share your story with us, and you could receive added visibility, or even be our next Featured Storyteller! Learn more.

Comments 22

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Otuto Monye
Oct 07
Oct 07

Great piece sis. Indeed, empowering females in technology should be employed by all of us who seek for the general well being of women and girls. . Keep up the great work.

Hawwah
Oct 10
Oct 10

Thank you so very much dear Otuto.
I deeply appreciate your love and sisterhood.

maeann
Oct 07
Oct 07

Hi Hawwah, congratulations for being featured on your story.

How amazing that this technology connects us. It can either destroy or build a community. Let us take the opportunity to use and raise awareness. We are the future.

Hawwah
Oct 10
Oct 10

Thank you so much Maeann.
Yes indeed, it can be used to either build or destroy a community.
We shall use it to BUILD.
I am so honored to call you all my sisters.

Olanike Adesanya
Oct 07
Oct 07

You're right Hawwah
Technology is really the future and the future is right here with us.
Some Young person's are as lucky to make much positivity out of Technology.
Despite all the vices, I still believe in Technology as well. It's more imperative than otherwise.
Congratulations too on your Award winning Story.
Please keep it up.

Hawwah
Oct 12
Oct 12

Dear Olinike,
Thank you for your comments dear sis.
It is. And we have to keep demanding that everyone have access to it.
We must not relent.

Jill Langhus
Oct 08
Oct 08

Hello, Hawwah, Dear,

How are you? Congrats on getting the Featured Storyteller award and for speaking up, always:-)

Hawwah
Oct 12
Oct 12

Dearest Jill,
I am better thank you so much.
Hope you had a wonderful birthday.
Thank you for all you do.

Jill Langhus
Oct 13
Oct 13

Great to hear:-) Yes, it was good, thanks!

You're very welcome. Thanks for all that you do, too!

Hope you have a great, rest of your week. XX

megsmueller
Oct 08
Oct 08

Congratulations to you sis! Technology really connects us! I love the picture of the little girl too -our children are quite tech savvy and will remain to be a good thing as they are trained to use it to connect and empower. Great work sister!

Hawwah
Oct 12
Oct 12

Dear Megsmueller,
Thank you for your support and comment.
Thank you for being a part of this amazing community of game changers.

Efe Omordia
Oct 08
Oct 08

I love your determined disposition. Despite not finding mentors while growing up. You made the best of the situation. Kudos to a courageous soul

Hawwah
Oct 12
Oct 12

Thank you so much Efe.
Yes, I suppose this is an inherent trait I have.
Sometimes when I recall the stuff i survived, it surprises me too.
I used to think it was a bad trait (because that's I have been told.)
But now I know it is one of my strengths.

Marie Abanga
Oct 10
Oct 10

Congratulation on your award sis,

Wow what an impressive role technology has played in your life, in mine as well although I never grew up in a community which frowned upon the girl child being exposed to all that technology hahahahaha.
Keep writing and defying and shinning your light for all the many young girls in your community to seek and do better for and by themselves.

Hawwah
Oct 12
Oct 12

Thank you so much sis MAG.
Yes, that's the idea.
No one deserves to be undermined and discriminated.
We have to teach them to take their power back.

Tamarack Verrall
Oct 10
Oct 10

Dear Hawwah,
Your message rings out loud and clear, we must find ways to make sure that every girl has access to technology. Your story reminds me of a message a young Indigenous woman here in the north of Canada tells. She taught herself English by watching TV, too. What stands out so beautifully apart from your important message for what we need to offer girls, is your own amazing spirit, determined to live fully. What a celebration to be able to be in touch here, and to imagine the girls being inspired by World Pulse sisters like you.

Hawwah
Oct 12
Oct 12

Thank you so much beautiful Tam.
Your support, encouragement and warmth here is so reassuring.
It convinces me of the belief I have always had.
Women never stop giving.
Love you Tam.

Busayo Obisakin
Oct 10
Oct 10

Yes Hawwah, technology is it!! Access to internet is like access to life itself. Our girls must not be left out. Kudos to you Sis for the great work you are doing
Love
Busayo

MUKABA ZAWADI
Oct 11
Oct 11

La technologie permet aux jeunes femmes de réseauter, de socialiser, de trouver des mentors, d'être éduquées, de développer leur confiance en elles et d'en apprendre davantage sur des choses comme leur santé et leurs droits sexuels et reproductifs. elle nous aident aussi à accedent aux opportunités sur l'interet. Vive la technologie et courage pour votre bavour vous êtes un leaders.

ceegrah
Oct 11
Oct 11

Congrats on your award dear. Indeed technology is the future. I enjoyed your piece. With technology the positive impact on women and girls will be massive.
Much Love

Phinnie
Oct 11
Oct 11

Hawwah--I love how you make such a solid case about the value of technology to girls and women and how it can open doors and be empowering. I am so glad that technology was there for you as a little girl and that it has opened doors for you. I wish you continued success!
Take care, Phinnie

Olutosin
Oct 13
Oct 13

My Angel.
Thank you very much for this beautiful piece.