African Women in Tech Working to Close Digital Divide

More than 5,000 women drawn from 30 African countries have staged a noble push to have more women representation in the tech industry as well as compete with men for leadership positions. The African continent is experiencing an alarming discrepancy in gender representation, and the Women in Tech Africa Week is seeking to address the divide at length. It is not a new idea, but only recently did more women and governments offer their unanimous support to the course.

While these efforts would be considered a little too ambitious, given the technology sector is male-dominated worldwide, any minor effort to combat inequality should be welcomed. For years, women have been given a cold shoulder in terms of representation, but it could also be argued that they’ve never shown such a strong stance as they are doing now.

Naturally, the African culture is seemingly unforgiving to the female gender, with technical duties reserved for men. Times have changed, though, and the push for gender equality has never been this strong. Interestingly, activities initially regarded as reserves for the male gender are attracting interest from the opposite gender. For example, women can take equal opportunities on current offers such as Betway’s exciting online promotions among other rewarding deals.

Women have a role

The founder of Women in Tech Africa Ethel Cofie is adamant that the most important thing to do right now is to address the gap.

“There is a huge gender gap, and that is part of the conversation. When we are out there showing the world we actually exist, are doing things, what it does is, it provides avenues for us to support other women.” Ethel says.

She goes on to blame poverty and economic disparities as the main stumbling blocks to bridging the digital gap in technology. According to her, men are at an advantage in the sense that they earn more, and they have access to better mobile phones and reliable data that allows them to reap from a broader spectrum such as the betting industry where you can find Betway and other bookmakers.

Educating is empowering

The most effective way of increasing digital access is through education, and that was emphasized at this year’s G-7 summit where members committed to work with developing countries to ensure inclusion and equity. Promoting education access for the girl child was among the issues discussed, where speakers were specific about encouraging women and girls to obtain quality education in subjects considered tough for the female gender.

According to Ethel Cofie and other speakers, empowering girls through education will translate to solutions for problems faced at the community level, but, putting in place the right policies is the only way of getting these challenges solved.

Women challenged to change their perception

The few African women involved in technology development are already doing a tremendous job. Suffice to say, this is a male-dominated faculty, but for as long as African communities continue with the backward perception about women in tech, there is every reason to believe that the situation will take ages to change. Focusing more on Sciences, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics could improve things swiftly in the near future. Given, the kind of backing given by some African governments is wanting, a lot more needs to be done on individual level. Interest is key, and it all starts with believing that being a woman does not limit your potential.