It has been reported that “African women are breaking glass ceilings and pioneering in the ICT sector despite the lack of female representation in the industry.” However Akaliza Gara, the founder of a Rwanda based ICT Company has said that overcoming the gender stereotypes is one of the most challenging aspects of being in the industry.
“The stereotypical image of an ICT expert is a young white man so many young girls grow up without even considering the field because they see ICT and technology in general as a boy’s thing.”
Even though there are not many women in the the indusctry across the continet, many women are now taking advantage of the internet to start businesses. The National Technical Development Agency in Nigeria has estimated that approximately 48 million people use the internet in Nigeria but as a result of issues such as gender inequality and illiteracy, women are less likely to take advantage of opportunities in ICT.
One woman taking full advantage of these opportunities is Nigerian business woman Ommo Clark. Ommo has started many ICT businesses from her laptop including a software solutions company, a repair and maintenance company that links customers to certified trades people and an online jewelry store to name a few.
“In Nigeria, e-commerce has taken off in a big way… A lot of people work off of their laptops but they work from hubs, there are a lot of technology hubs, they work from coffee shops, they work from their bedrooms.”
We applaud programs across the continent such as ‘Tech Needs Girls’ which we introduced you to in our last issue, ‘1000 Girls in Training’, ‘Seed Fund for Women + Girls in Computer Science’ and ‘TechWomen’; all trying to bridge this gap. We hope to see many more women challenging the stereotypes by stepping into the ICT sector. Hopefully we will start a lot earlier with the future generations by ensuring they are exposed to the right balance rather than enforcing gender stereotypes. We say toy electronic learning app tablets as well as dolls for all our girls!
Image source: BET