Today is International Women’s Day, and much of the focus in the technology space is how more can be done to create greater access to STEM, coding and other digital skills for women across the globe. Looking at the African continent, Microsoft has partnered with non-profit Tech4Dev on a new initiative called Women Techsters.
Unlike other initiatives that may be announced today, Women Techsters is taking a longer view of its objective, with it aiming to assist five million women across the continent in accessing digital skills by 2030. In order to bring this to fruition, it will be launched in five countries – Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Kenya and Egypt.
“Initially, we are launching the initiative in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa and Egypt and are excited to see how we can live up to our mission of enabling participating girls and women to do more. We know that when women are fully empowered, society benefits overall,” emphasises Microsoft SA MD, Lillian Barnard (pictured below).
“Partnering with Microsoft made complete sense when it came to seeking a partner and organisation that has continuously reaffirmed its commitment to digitally transforming communities through upskilling and fostering a knowledge economy. Our shared belief that training and empowering young women across Africa will help achieve a male-female ratio balance in the technology space, while providing them with useful skills to build more efficient businesses, or rewarding careers using technology,” added Diwura Oladepo, executive director at Tech4Dev.
From Microsoft’s perspective, and in particularly within South Africa, this initiative will be added to the other skills development projects that the company has announced in recent years.
“The overall objective of Women Techsters is to grow and support a community of tech-empowered girls and women across the continent, who will have equal access to decent job opportunities as well as to build and scale their ideas into tech-enabled businesses and deep tech start-ups, ultimately aiding overall economic growth,” notes Barnard.
The MD also acknowledged that while much has been done on the continent to streamline skills development in STEM areas, more and continuous efforts are required to increase women and girls’ participation in tech.
With the Microsoft Africa Inclusion plan looking to skill six million people by end of calendar year 2023, this expanded Women Techsters initiative should go a long way towards achieving this.
To find out more about Women Techsters, and how to register for one of the programs via Tech4Dev, head here.