November 2016 to October 2017 Grant Amount: $25,000 Awarded By: FIRE AFRICA
Project Manager for the AfChix project: “Boosting the Information Technology Pipeline through Role Modeling and Information Dissemination” aimed at documenting high quality stories and videos featuring successful women in Computer Science and Information Technology (IT) in order to inspire young African girls to consider careers in IT.
The Information Technology industry provides potential employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for both men and women. The global information technology market exceeded $3.7 trillion in 2015 and was estimated to reach $3.8 trillion in 2016 (CompTia:2016). However, the number of women in technology is still very low in Africa and globally. In 2015 Microsoft reported that women encompassed 29.1% of its workforce, but only 16.6% worked in technical positions and only 23% held leadership roles. Twitter reported that women made up 10% of its technical employees, with 21% in leadership positions. Google reported that 17 % of their tech jobs were occupied by women and only 21% were managers.
Engaging girls in technology early is seen to be a critical factor to ensure they develop confidence in their abilities and develop aspirations to enter science based careers. Lack of information on the range of careers in science and technology is a recurring theme. Role modelling is a proven and powerful method for mentorship, teaching and passing on knowledge, skills, and values. However, research indicates that the lack of female role models is probably the biggest issue facing the industry. Africa has a number of women that have succeeded in the Information Technology Industry but their success stories have not been documented for the purposes of using them in role modelling for the benefit of young girls in rural and urban schools.
In our project “Boosting the Information Technology Pipeline through Role Modeling and Information Dissemination”, we identified 10 Women in Technology from five regions of Africa: North, South, East, West and Central Africa. We video recorded their stories and disseminated them through online social media, other broadcasting channels and offline during our schools career meetings. Our hope is that the stories will inspire more young girls and will increase the number of African girls and women joining the information technology industry.
The content developed was translated to French, Arabic and Portuguese for wider reach.