A typical image of a computer programmer is a nerdy bespectacled young guy that is, more often than not, unaware of his environment. At least, that’s the image projected by popular culture for decades. Unfortunately, this stereotype reinforces the view that males are more suited to tech than their female counterparts.
Today, the narrative has changed drastically such that women, irrespective of their age, culture, religion, and race, are not only demystifying tech but are inspiring the younger generation to consider careers in the industry.
One of the objectives of the annual commemoration of the International Girls in ICT Day is to highlight female role models and their contributions to the tech industry.
The International Girls in ICT Day is held yearly on the fourth Thursday in April with the aim of creating equal access for young women and girls to opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math. In celebration of this year’s event, we are featuring 4 influential African women in ICT who are championing more female inclusion in ICT as a means to close the digital gender divide in Africa.
Ada is the Founder of She Code Africa (SCA), a non-profit organization focused on celebrating and equipping young African girls and women with technical skills. Since she launched SCA in 2016, it has impacted 6,000 women members across 15 African countries while championing gender diversity in tech at the same time.
What spurs her on is a desire to see an equal representation of women across all career roles and levels in technology and to educate the next generation of girls/women on the strong possibility to break barriers within the tech sector and in STEM as a whole.
With a degree in Microbiology, she is proof that a female has the power to choose her own path in life. She started out as a self-taught Software developer during her university days, she’s currently engaged with Google as its Ecosystem community manager for sub-Saharan Africa while also advocating its diversity and inclusion initiatives such as the Women Techmakers (WTM) across different chapters within Sub Saharan Africa.
Baratang Miya – South Africa
Baratang is the Founder and CEO of GirlHype — Women Who Code, a not-for-profit organization that offers programming and app development training for girls and young women.
Through GirlHype, Baratang is committed to ensuring that the next generation of South African girls has a better chance of achieving their full potential and also addressing the issue of unequal access to opportunities for girls in her home.
Also a key leader of the Mozilla Clubs for Women and Girls, she believes that the more rapidly women’s digital skills are developed provided they have access to the internet, the faster they will become economically strong and independent.
Since 2015, she’s been a TechWomen Fellow, an initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. In 2016, she was the 1st runner-up of the MTN Women In ICT Community Builder Award.
Judith Owigar – Kenya
Judith is the co-founder and president of AkiraChix, a social enterprise radically impacting the lives of women in East Africa through training, mentorship, and outreach programs for women in tech.
Together with her friends, she launched AkiraChix in response to the challenges and prejudice they experienced as women working in the tech sector in Africa. Thus, AkiraChix became a space where women could come together and learn from each other.
In line with Judith’s vision to empower women technologically and financially to enable them lead their societies, AkiraChix is helping to nurture generations of women who leverage technology to build innovative solutions addressing Africa’s problem.
Judith has been recognized for her works, key among them is the Anita Borg Change Agent award in 2012, and the top 40 women under 40 awards for women who have made a significant impact on Kenya, economically and socially.
In 2015, she was a speaker at the prestigious Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit where she shared the stage with Barack Obama, Former US President, and President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya.
Porcho Marguerite Sogoba – Mali
Porcho is the president and founder of MUSODEV (Association for the Promotion of Women through ICT).
As a Computer Engineer, she was motivated to address the underrepresentation of women in her line of work. Initially, she created MUSODEV as a means of bringing to light these few women who dared to venture into tech. However, she expanded the initiative into an association that helps women and girls to make a career in ICT.
Porcho was a speaker at the first edition of Abidjan Women In Tech where she moderated the theme of breaking down the barriers of the code and becoming the code. Locally, she leads conferences and activities related to computer coding and the empowerment of women in technology. She also led the establishment of a KIDS LAB on computer programming and robotics in Bamako.