Case Studies and Examples

Opening the Tech Sector to Africa’s Women

"From Women in Tech conferences to Girls Who Code programs, initiatives aimed at enabling girls and women to enter the so-called STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) have proliferated in recent years. But change has been slow to arrive: while the percentage of women in the labor force has gradually increased, it remains significantly lower in the tech sector. Given that sector’s central role in driving the Fourth Industrial Revolution, this amounts to a major drain on economies’ potential.

The problem is particularly pronounced in Africa. In Sub-Saharan Africa, for example, the overall female labor-force participation rate has reached 61%, yet women constitute only 30% of professionals in the tech industry. More fundamentally, although Internet usage in Africa is growing at the world’s fastest rate, the digital gender gap has widened since 2013. A quarter fewer women than men use the Internet.

In today’s digital economy, women’s relative lack of connectivity undermines their capacity to reach their economic potential. Even women with their own “analog” businesses, such as dressmakers or hairdressers, suffer when they cannot advertise online, let alone use technological tools to monitor, measure, and optimize their operations."

Read more on Project Syndicate


Mastercard Launches 2020 South African Girls4Tech Programme to Inspire Girls into STEM Careers

"Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) skills are still the most in-demand jobs in South Africa in the job market, yet only 13 per cent of graduates in STEM fields are women, despite South Africa being ranked 17th out of 153 countries in the 2020 Global Gender Gap Report.

Ahead of International Women’s Day, Mastercard has launched its first 2020 South African Girls4Tech programme at Phoenix College in Johannesburg to inspire and prepare 110 girls aged between nine and 11 for careers in science and technology.

A hands-on inquiry-based STEM programme, Girls4Tech incorporates Mastercard’s deep expertise in payments technology and innovation, and includes topics such as algorithms, digital convergence and cryptology. Mastercard employees serve as mentors and role models as they guide participants through practical and fun exercises."

Read more on startupAFRICA

The African Research Academies for Women

"Africa’s capacity to compete on the global scene depends on her ability to adopt innovative technologies as well as high research output in the form of drugs development, etc. This will require practical solutions that will leverage the playing field for the future generation of scientists, both men and women. In line with this, Students for A Healthy Africa (SAHA) conducted a 2-month survey and concluded that the root reason behind the lack of women in science was simply because a huge proportion (about 90%) of them never had the opportunity to engage with research during their college years.

In response, we have developed the African Research Academy for Women (ARA-W), a premier research program that will enable at least 5 exceptional African university undergraduate women in the sciences to spend 2 months of the long-term summer vacation at University of Ghana's Noguchi Medical Research Institute (NMRI)."


New Programme Launches to Assist Female-Owned Tech Businesses

"Ya Basadi, meaning ‘for women’ in Setswana is a new acceleration programme aimed at supporting established female-owned businesses to transition into a technology-enabled company to optimise and improving their operations. 

Founded and created by Wits University’s Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct with financial support from J.P. Morgan, Ya Basadi in the 4IR programme is targeted at primarily female-owned businesses, which are already trading and have a clear understanding of how tech can scale their businesses. 

In addition, the programme is also aimed at underserved female entrepreneurs from low-income backgrounds. Tshimologong will facilitate the programme and provide the much-needed support for female-tech-owned businesses."

Read more on Ventureburn

Techno-Girl Programme

"The Techno Girl programme is all about increasing and enhancing the participation of girls in careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). 

A large majority of secondary school learners fails to reach proficiency in maths and science.  For girls, the situation is particularly challenging – with less than a third of girls taking maths and science in their secondary school years.   Consequently, young girls leave school and higher institutions without the competencies required to occupy technical careers in STEM fields.  To ensure that girls have an equal opportunity to excel in fields that the economy requires, they need to be exposed to opportunities, inspired to success, helped with subject choices and guided regarding their tertiary education, while still at school.

Techno Girl is an innovative job-shadowing programme for girls, with a particular bias toward STEM careers.  The programme is a flagship programme of the Department for Women, Children and People with Disabilities (DWCPD), in partnership with UNICEF and the Department of Basic Education (DBE).  It is premised on the understanding that structured exposure to the workplace can significantly contribute towards motivating disadvantaged girls to take up careers that are in demand in the economy and where women are under-represented.  This will lead to sustained employment and in so doing the cycle of poverty can be broken for these girls.   What makes the programme particularly compelling is that it covers two of South Africa’s key national priorities: education and job creation."

Read more in the article by Transnet

Astro Molo Mhlaba: Where Future Female Astronomers are Made

"Astro Molo Mhlaba targets the issues of inclusivity and diversity in South African science by engaging its most underrepresented group - black girls from underserved communities - in astronomy programmes at various stages of their education. We use astronomy as a tool to inspire girls and young women to be passionate about science and motivate them to pursue a career in STEM. 

Through its regular and long-term structure, the Astro Molo Mhlaba provides girls with the continuous support required to achieve their scientific potential, which institutions in their communities seldom have the resources to provide."


Girls Fly Programme in Africa (GFPA)

"Girls fly programme in Africa (GFPA), a non-profit organization is an information and educational Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) programme for primary, high school and Post-school learners with a focus on aviation and space.
The programme includes the use of design thinking, technology, and innovation to shape, empower, enable and support the next generation of makers and problem solvers in the aviation and space industry in Africa while entrenching the spirit of Ubuntu."

Girls Taught About Coding

"Learning the language of coding is key in preparing young people for a digital future.  The Free State Department of Education has partnered with Vodacom Central Region in an initiative to offer 121 female learners digital training on how to code. The programme formed part of the winter school holidays and was conducted from 24 June to 5 July.  This digital skills training programme for young women is envisaged to help to narrow the digital gender divide at an early age in South Africa."

Read more on News24

In South Africa, Techno Girl Opens Doors in Science and Technology

"The initiative is a collaboration between UNICEF, the Ministry in the Presidency: Women, the Department of Basic Education, the State Information Technology Agency and Uweso Consulting (the implementing partner). As a lead agency in girls’ education and empowerment, UNICEF also mobilizes resources for the project through the private sector, government and civil society.

Techno Girl aims specifically to promote girls’ participation and learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics – fields in which boys consistently outperform girls in South Africa. Candidates are selected from the country’s under-resourced communities on the basis of their academic merit."