"This Women’s Month, it is apt to consider the position of women in the ICT industry, and what that means for the world. The truth is that women remain deeply underrepresented, and our society is the poorer for it.The technology space is essentially about innovation: creating and developing new solutions to improve people’s lives. We will only be able to do this optimally when women are intimately involved in the innovation process."
"Hosted by Womandla, nominations are open for the first Women in STEM Awards set for 17 August in Cape Town. The not-for-profit, which aims to celebrate and empower women in Africa and around the globe through digital media, will be honouring South Africa's most inspirational female role models through the awards."
"This Youth Month, Vodacom KwaZulu Natal will offer 70 school-going female learners from the province the opportunity to learn how to code during the winter school holidays, from 24 June – 05 July 2019.
This investment by Vodacom in digital skills training programmes for young women will help to narrow the gender digital divide at an early age in South Africa.Female participation is falling in a field that is expanding globally and men still dominate the number of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) graduates in most countries, these were some of the concerns expressed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) recently.
The situation is dire in South Africa as a few years ago the Engineering Council of South Africa put the total number of women engineers registered with the body to 11 percent. "
"According to UNESCO Statistics, women make up only 23% of STEM talent globally, and this inequality is mirrored in South Africa's science, technology and engineering industries. To unpack this topic further we chatted to Nicol Meyer, country head at specialty chemicals company Clariant South Africa, to explore why this imbalance persists, how we can drive greater gender parity in STEM-based industries, and any advice she has for women currently pursuing a career in STEM."
By Tashline Jooste, Chief Executive Officer of the Innovator Trust
"Through personal experiences, I realised that the youth require the skills of computer literacy to thrive as a citizen of a digital era. However, there is a generation in South Africa who have not had the privilege of access to technology, don’t know how computers work, and don’t fully grasp technology’s significant impact on today’s society.
With the exciting emergence of the digital age, the ICT sector holds many opportunities for young entrepreneurs to build successful future SMMEs. However, being an entrepreneur (and, in particular, being a young, black, female entrepreneur) in South Africa is not without its challenges.
South Africa is currently facing severe economic conditions and a massive unemployment issue, with the unemployment rate among young South Africans under the age of 25 sitting at a frightening 67.4%. And, simply put, we as a country are not providing enough infrastructure support and skills development for black-owned SMMEs."
"Promoting the participation of women and girls in science means changing mindsets, fighting gender biases and stereotypes which limit the expectations and professional goals girls have (from early childhood), writes Tashnica Sylvester
Gender equality and our society's views on girls and women have weighed heavily on the minds of South Africans these past few months. The value our culture places on females and our attitudes towards women has been challenged. This re-evaluation of our dedication and commitment to the empowerment of girls and women also extends to the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (According to a 2018 report of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), women in STEM represent less than 30% of researcher globally. This shows that there’s a need for urgent attention and huge investments in women to pursue studies in and make contribution to STEM fields. "
"Women scientists have a vital part to play in scientific leadership and in contributing to Africa’s development and transformation. But they remain substantially under-represented in higher education and in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). This is because women are generally seen and treated by society as being inferior and less capable than men. This then spills over into their educational and professional lives.
This is a global issue. Women account for 53% of the world’s bachelor’s and master’s degree graduates and 43% of PhD graduates. But they make up only 28% of researchers in all fields. And, only 30% of women in higher education move into STEM-related fields.
The situation is no different in sub-Saharan Africa; in fact, in some countries in the region it’s worse. Only 30% of sub-Saharan researchers in all subject areas are women."
"Women scientists have a vital part to play in scientific leadership and in contributing to Africa's development and transformation, but they remain substantially under-represented in higher education and in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
Women account for 53% of the world's bachelor's and master's degree graduates and 43% of PhD graduates, but only 28% of researchers in all fields. Only 30% of women in higher education move into STEM-related fields. Similarly, in sub-Saharan Africa, only 30% of researchers in all subject areas are women. For example, in Cameroon, enrolment in tertiary education was estimated at 20% for men and 15% for women in 2017, and women constituted only 22% of Cameroonian researchers and only 7% of academics at the rank of full professor. Between 2011 and 2013, there was an increase in the percentage of women researchers in South Africa (43·7%), Egypt (42·8%), Morocco (30·2%), Senegal (24·9%), Nigeria (23·3%), Rwanda (21·8%), Cameroon (21·8%), and Ethiopia (13·3%). However, there is an attrition in the number of women along the career trajectory in scientific research. Gender disparities persist in the scientific workforce, generally concentrating female scientists in the lower echelons of responsibility and decision making with limited leadership opportunities. This situation limits the diverse perspectives that ensure robust scientific agendas and allow women's contributions and advancement."
"Mbali Hlongwane, founder of Pink Codrs Africa, found a novel ally in her fight to get more African women coding and into STEM careers: South African soccer team, Kaizer Chiefs Football Club.
According to Hlongwane, Pink Codrs Africa, an organisation of female software developers, grew out of a series of networking events for female software developers aims to build a strong network of female software developers in South Africa, bringing together industry software developers, women in technology businesses and STEM students."
"Globally, for each US dollar earned by men, women earn approximately 50 cents. In South Africa, women earn 60 cents for each rand earned by men. The lack of female representation in the workforce and especially in leadership positions is another barrier to gender equality. In South Africa, for every ten men, only eight women are employed or actively looking for work, although women make up more than half of the working-age population. But expediting gender equality at work pays dividends.
According to PwC estimations, closing the pay gap across OECD countries could increase total female earnings by US$2 trillion, an increase of 23%.7 Furthermore, the economic benefits of increasing female employment rates across the OECD countries to match Sweden’s rate of 61% could be over US$6 trillion in the long run, an increase of 12%.8 We estimate sizeable economic benefits if we close the gender gap in South Africa in both pay and representation by just 10%. Our calculations suggest economic growth spin-offs of additional 3.2% in GDP growth and a 6.5% reduction in the number of unemployed job seekers."
"As America advances into the 21st century and industry becomes increasingly dependent on advanced technology, jobs related to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) are going to become increasingly important and in demand. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that employment in occupations related to STEM is projected to grow to more than 9 million between 2012 and 2022, an increase of 1 million jobs over 2012 employment levels.
Ironically, job opportunities in some STEM fields may swell beyond those projections because of the COVID-19 crisis. Although millions have been furloughed or laid off because of this health crisis, the pandemic seems to be opening new job opportunities in some areas of STEM."