- Oladepo said stereotypes and cultural biases have kept women out of the tech space in Africa and left it to be dominated by men.
- A report also confirmed that the majority of African developers are men with an 81% male and 18% female distribution.
- The Tech4Dev Director, however, said a proper strategy of empowering women with tech skills would change the situation.
The co-founder and Executive Director of Tech4Dev, Oladiwuara Oladepo, has said that several factors including stereotypes and cultural biases have kept many African women out of choosing a career in technology, thus making the tech space a male-dominated industry.
She said this has led to a prevalent gender gap in the technology ecosystem. Citing a recent report by Accenture Africa, Oladepo said the majority of African developers are men with an 81% male and 18% female distribution.
According to her, the Accenture report was drawn from research carried out across 16 African countries and highlights the apparent gender gap in the technology ecosystem, particularly in developing parts of the world like Africa.
Fueled by stereotype
While noting that Tech4Dev in the course of its efforts at bridging the digital gap had also discovered a wide gender gap in the tech industry, Oladepo said:
- “In our bid to address the problem of low access to economic livelihood opportunities and economic inequalities that continue to plague the African continent, we recognized that to address this problem effectively in the growing digital age, we needed to bridge the digital gap and improve digital access and literacy across the continent, for its growing population.
- In the course of solving this problem, we uncovered another challenge; the prevalent gender gap in the technology ecosystem. This gender gap is largely fuelled by stereotypes and cultural biases, especially in underserved communities, and we set out to address it by launching the Women Techsters Initiative.”
Empowering women in tech
To address this challenge, Oladepo said the organisation had to expand its Women Techsters Fellowship program which empowers women to be experts in tech, to 22 African countries for 2024 class. The 22 African countries whose citizens are eligible to apply include Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Egypt, South Africa, Ethiopia, DR. Congo, Tanzania, Uganda, Algeria, Sudan, Morocco, Angola, Mozambique, Madagascar, Rwanda, Liberia, Botswana, Zambia Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, and Gambia.
According to her, over the last 5 years, the Women Techsters Initiative has increased in reach and impact as it grew from impacting just 2,400 women in Nigeria through its pilot program to impacting 89,153 women in 2023 through its various Women Techsters sub-programs.
The Women Techsters Initiative is aimed at bridging the wide gender divide between men and women in the technology ecosystem as well as ensuring equal access to opportunities for all. The Initiative aims to empower girls and women aged between 16 and 40 years across Nigeria and Africa with varying degrees of digital, deep tech, and soft skills required within the technology ecosystem.
Leave a Reply