Technological advancement in Africa is taking a new shape. In countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Rwanda, it is obvious that technology is slowly starting to cut across and influence multiple sectors such as education, finance, agriculture, energy and healthcare.
The tech industry is basically focused on innovation, advancement and growth. It is practically one of the fastest growing industries in Africa, which means that we basically need more human resources in the industry. We have vacancies that are daily increasing in job areas like product development and management, business analysis, computer science, machine training, etc. These openings have not been filled because of gender digital gap and lack of inclusivity, which is predominant in Africa.
Women are, most of the time, discouraged from getting into tech-related careers, as it is out of the norm.
According to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics data, less than 30 per cent of the world’s researchers are women and less than a third of female students choose to study higher education courses in subjects like Mathematics and Engineering.
Female students joining Information and Communications Technology courses across the globe are estimated at just three per cent.
In business, Africa is occupying a space as the only region in the world that has been discovered to have more female entrepreneurs than the males. But due to lack of inclusivity, only 27 per cent of those women make use of technology. According to the Roland Berger study for women in Africa, a business profits on an average of 34 per cent when it is women-led.
The gender disparity is alarming and it is slowing down the technological advancement of the African ecosystem.
Based on the aforementioned, since the ecosystem, which is governed by the male gender, is reluctant to push for the bridge of this gender digital divide, here are ways in which women in tech can help to ensure inclusivity within the African tech industry.
Breaking cultural barriers using tech-based tools
Women in tech should employ Information Technology-based tools to create awareness on the effect of cultural barriers and their negative influence to grow their businesses, as they have come to mentally limit themselves because of the fear of social backlash.
It is also necessary that women in tech should help to publicise the great successes achieved by women-led tech startups. This will help to motivate women, who partake in the tech entrepreneurship journey and encourage those who are still hesitating.
Free tech training programmes for women
Through collaborative efforts, women-led organisations can come together to organise trainings to properly equip women with the required tech skills to advance their businesses.
Further, not-for-profit organisations like Creative Space startup has initiatives like GoDo Hub that run programmes aimed at achieving tech inclusion within the African ecosystem. They are open to donations, which will help to drive the tech inclusion movements.
Provision of support
Advanced women in tech should endeavour to provide support, resources and network for young female techpreneurs, so that they don’t get frustrated and give up.
In conclusion, there is great need for tech inclusion in the African ecosystem, but this cannot be achieved if we don’t start from within as women in tech.
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