Policy Papers and Research

Women in the Information and Communication Technology Sector in South Africa 

"This study was commissioned by the Embassy of Finland in South Africa as part of a larger study to investigate mechanisms for stimulating the increased participation of women in high-level ICT skills in South Africa. This report forms Part 2 of three documents and presents a snapshot of the situation of women in high-level Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in South Africa. The findings are based primarily on desktop research carried out during the period February to July 2006, strengthened by consultations with selected South African experts and key players."

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Source details:  South African Overview, July 2006,  Contributing Authors: Tina James (editor); Ronel Smith; Joan Roodt; Natasha Primo; Nicole Beeby; Lauren Fok; Nina Evans; Veronica Moutloutsi


Addressing the Low Female Representation in STEM Education

"Data by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), shows that only 35 percent of students studying STEM in higher education globally are women. At primary and lower secondary levels, less than half of schools in sub-Saharan Africa have no electricity, computers or even access to the internet"

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Exploring ICT-supported Formal Women Business Networks (eFWBNs) the Case of Kenya and South Africa

"The primary purpose of this study was to examine and understand the nature of Information and communication technology (ICT) supported formal women business networks (eFWBNs) and their contribution to the development of women entrepreneurs. For over a decade, studies on women’s entrepreneurship, particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa, have reiterated the importance of, and need for, women’s involvement in formal women business networks (FWBNs). In this study, FWBNs are defined as networks that have women entrepreneurs as key actors and are often affiliated with consultants, business practitioners, and government. FWBNs provide benefits and access to useful resources that are not easily accessible to women entrepreneurs due to several constraints. FWBNs have been found to be slow to leverage ICTs to facilitate and enhance their activities even in the era of globalisation. While FWBNs exist in sub-Saharan Africa, there is a dearth of research on their characteristics, structure and operation. Particularly within the information systems field, there is paucity of recearch around the integration and use of ICTs in WBNs."

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Source details: Ajumobi, D. 2018. Exploring ICT-supported Formal Women Business Networks (eFWBNs) the case of Kenya and South Africa. University of Cape Town.

Empowering girls with Girltivity

"According to UNESCO statistics, women make up only 23% of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) talent globally, and this inequality is often felt in South Africa's science, technology and engineering industries. Geared to tackle this daunting problem head-on is an Umhlanga based mom, Romona Mahadeo, and her daughter Kiara, an ambitious kidpreneur. Together they have built the Girltivity brand – to inspire and empower girls aged 3-12 through a monthly subscription ‘STEAMED UP’ box.

‘STEAMED UP’ stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics, Entrepreneurship, Design, Understanding and Practice. The Girltivity Box is thoughtfully designed by educational experts to encourage creativity, curiosity and support literacy development."

Women and ICT in South Africa: Mental Models on Gender and ICT in Marginalised Communities

"There is a dearth of nuanced understanding of women's ICT usage and their own perspectives and worldviews - mental models - on a possible intersection between gender and ICT in their communities. This research offers a qualitative analysis of the views of women in three marginalised communities in South Africa. The study follows a phenomenological approach and relies on in-depth semi-structured individual interviews with women diverse in age, education and employment status. The findings indicate varied perspectives of a digital gender divide in their communities. Where such disparities are identified by women, there is a divergence in opinions as to the causes thereof, ranging from perceptions of males as innately more competent, to socially constructed gender norms influencing ICT activity. In shedding light on the mental models of ICT held by women, this research can contribute to the design and implementation of gender-sensitive digital inclusion strategies targeted at women in marginalised communities."

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