The first person to win a second Nobel Prize is a woman…

When I read the news about the 5 Nigerian girls from Regina Pacies Secondary School Onitsha that clinched the Gold at the World Technovation Challenge. I was happy not because they made Nigeria and Africa proud, I was happy because they were female, when I probed further I discovered the competition is for girls alone, I felt better because it is a platform for girls to show the world they can change their society when given the opportunity.

Technovation offers girls around the world the opportunity to learn the necessary skills to become tech entrepreneurs and leaders. Since 2010, more than 10,000 girls from 78 countries have participated in Technovation. With the help of volunteer mentors, they’ve produced mobile “startups” that have helped address problems in local and global communities the world over.

WOMEN IN TECH

Previously I thought that tech was a masculine stuff until I read about Countess Augusta Ada Lovelace (1815-1852), the world’s first computer programmer some years back. She taught herself geometry and laid the early conceptual and technical groundwork for the high technology needed to develop the early computer. She corroborated with Sir Charles Babbage to invent the Analytical Engine. Posthumously, the United States Department of Defence (DoD) honoured her by naming its high-level programming language, Ada after her in 1979.

Countess Ada Lovelace’s story shows that there is nothing masculine about tech. We are no more living in times were success had more to do with physical exertion, that was a man’s world and those days are gone. Success is more mental and both male and female brains are the same.

WITH THE RIGHT EXPOSURE, EVERY WOMAN CAN EXCEL

I remember during my undergraduate days, one day few of my coursemates and I were passing through the Faculty of Engineering (FEG). We saw a class taking pictures, interestingly one of us said something profound, “See there is only one girl in this class, this guys must be suffering, no girls to gist with. This class must be very boring. Without girls what is the point for the class going for a picnic”. We laughed our hearts out that day. I remember telling myself, this Engineering course must be scary for ladies.

I think many women avoid tech courses because they are not encouraged to participate in those fields. If there were no women football league, who would have thought that women could dribble and fire shots outside the eighteen-yard box.

What of Marie Curie, the first person to win a second Nobel Prize. In 1903, she won her first Nobel Prize in Physics with her husband Pierre Curie and Henri Becquerel in recognition of their fundamental research on radioactivity. In 1911. she won her second Nobel Prize in Chemistry in recognition of her work in discovering Radium and Polonium and isolating Radium. She worked with her husband to discover two radioactive elements Polonium and Radium.

When I read about her then in elementary chemistry, I was really impressed. She was denied higher education in her native Poland, In France she studied Physics and Mathematics, graduating top of her class. This shows with the right exposure, every woman can excel alongside her male counterpart.

I still think more women need to get involved. What do you think?

I think women need to start changing the narrative. Beyond the dream of getting married and having children, they can still achieve great things for themselves. A woman can be a super mom and super achiever combined together.

Congratulations to all the women that have been creating spaces for women in the headlines.

Obinna Osigwe
Digital Marketing Analyst

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