25 August 2021
In celebrating national women’s month, we must celebrate the progress of women in tech-related careers. Women still make up a small percentage of the tech industry, but there has been a positive shift over the past 5 years.
The amount of women showing interest in tech-related careers in South Africa is increasing. At the moment, we hold the highest number of ICT female graduates in Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2021 alone there has been an increase of 60% of female students.
Women in tech: why does representation matter?
The lack of representation of women in tech equates to a lack of female role models. Which consequently, leads to a lack of mentors. History has blessed us with the great pioneers (Ada Lovelace, Marie Curie, Annie Easley, etc) who inspired generations of women in tech. However, we need more of our peers in senior-level positions to inspire and share their experiences with other women.
Notable achievements of women in tech
Women communities and support
Ultimately, the initiative to attract more women into the field must begin with us. Women have been successful in creating outreach programs tailored for young girls and professional women. These communities provide training in basic programming skills, ongoing mentorship programs, and a network of women at different levels.
Empowering women’s success
More companies are participating in encouraging inclusivity, and they are partnering with female communities to drive change.
I have seen this with the community I am part of, Women in Big Data SA, we have received support from different companies in the events and training we have hosted in the past. Every company we have engaged with is passionate about finding ways to attract more women into the field, it has been amazing to witness.
Role models in tech
The lack of women in the field has been the result of underrepresentation. Lately, we have seen more women come forward, either by hosting talks or through the awesome work that they have done. Dr. Aisha R. Pandor, the co-founder of SweepSouth, is one of the women that has been an inspiration to many young girls.
Another amazing lady that has personally inspired me is Tshidi Morabi, the founder of LocTransie. She came up with a solution to a problem most South African parents with kids traveling to school were facing. She created an app that connects parents with the child’s school transport system, enabling parents to locate the child and the school transport during their school route.
Having female representation in the field not only inspires, but also drives change to some of the issues we have faced in the past, like gender bias systems. Whitney Wolfe Herd, the founder, and CEO of Bumble, is an example of what a female perspective can bring into tech. Bumble is the safest female-friendly dating app, the first to ever let only women make the first move.
The future is bright
Despite the statistics today, more women hold leadership positions today compared to a few years back. Women starting their careers today have more support from their male counterparts. By providing mentorship, more women are staying in tech for longer, hence keeping women substantially represented.
There are also more opportunities and resources than ever for women to upskill, such as the Think Big Series and TEA, to name a few. Our internship and graduate program is also the perfect opportunity to gain industry experience and exposure. Why not start your tech journey at Integrove today?