Women Making Untold Contributions To The Digital WorldMarch 16, 2023
Despite initiatives to tap women potential in the technology space, figures show that there is little participation compared to men.
To mark the International Women’s Day 2023, themed Innovation and technology for gender equality, Oracle academy in collaboration with African Summit on Entrepreneurship and Innovation-ASENTI and Riara university held an event to bring together women in Tech in Kenya.
The forum sought to tackle questions and stereotypical ideas of women in tech and the strides they have made to become successful women in the industry.
The women were also educated on key aspects that the company gives priority as a way of promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and technology for women in the sector.
March 8th has been earmarked as the day which acts as a focal point in the women’s rights movements bringing attention to issues such as gender equality, reproductive rights, violence and abuse against women.
This day which was commemorated under the theme DigitALL; Innovation and Technology for gender equality highlighted the role of innovative technology in promoting gender equality and meeting health and developmental needs of women and girls.
A common observation among the panel was the gap between men and women in the highly dominated field. According to the Global gender gap report 2020 published by World economic forum, it will take around 100 years for the world to reach gander parity.
Cloud Platform Senior Account Manager Lorna Misoi of Oracle Academy thanked men for being instrumental in promoting equity in the society adding the main goal of the academy is to reduce the gender gap and recruit more females in the tech world.
“Women ought to start fighting for these spaces even though the gap is tremendously closing up” she added.
One of the main reasons women leave the tech industry is the gender stereotype that it is a masculine profession. For a while now this stereotype is ingrained by the society everywhere. Many women have been discouraged from studying computer science and engineering courses. Even when women enrol in tech-related courses, many do not consider pursuing a career in IT.
Studies have shown that diversity in companies is important. The multiple perspectives of a diverse team are key to innovation. Commercial Director for Technology at Oracle Academy Christine Ambektsa added that women’s perspective is needed since products are not sold to men only. Also, women teammates may bring in a different culture and work atmosphere that can boost team morale.
The challenge for women in the tech world however, is dealing with macho and misogynist culture within the industry.
Speakers also noted that women and men have distinctive communication styles, which means the workplace must be committed to mutual learning and listening to each other.
Another challenge commonly faced by women is the work-family balance due to the high pressure and heavy workload of some technical positions. But Oracle Academic programme manager Lorna Juma pointed out that this is a major challenge for both women and men. “There are dedicated fathers who are struggling to balance work and family despite co-parenting”.
Lorna Juma urged women to believe in themselves: acknowledging the steps they have made to join the tech world not forgetting the many challenges. Juma also added that many efforts have been put to ensure women continue to advance in careers and uplift each other.
Riara University being an oracle Academy member has made great strides in championing innovation and giving opportunities to young girls and women to take lead.
Sheryl Mboya , a Kenyan youth, an innovator, a computer science scholar and a legal scholar at Riara University prides of the increase of young women in the male dominated field. “I am proud of the many young females who are now owning spaces in the digital world, facing challenges and addressing them head on”
Sheryl says that the IT space is no longer a male owned department as perceived before “More Women need to venture into the industry and take a seat on the table”
“As long as you have the passion and the drive the technology world is everybody’s space” she urged.
Oracle academy has put in place in various countries to democratize girls’ technology education and support them in career development. The institution has set aside girl child programmes and increased female participation in tech industries women businesses. They have provisions of first-hand experience to females who would want to venture into the tech-based organizations and companies.
Oracle Academy resources are open to provide women across the country with stable and advanced knowledge on how to fight for their rights and fit in the competitive world of technology.
The Global peace foundation Kenya works closely with Oracle Academy in training educators on computing skills and ICT integration in teaching and learning.
From the earliest days of computing to the present age of virtual reality and artificial intelligence, women have made untold contributions to the digital world in which we increasingly live. Their accomplishments have been against all odds, in a field that has historically neither welcomed nor appreciated them.
Today, a persistent gender gap in digital access keeps women from unlocking technology’s full potential. Their underrepresentation in STEM education and careers remains a major barrier to their participation in tech design and governance. And the pervasive threat of online gender-based violence—coupled with a lack of legal recourse—too often forces them out of the digital spaces they do occupy.
This annual event explored the impact of gender gaps in the 21st century that continues to create inequality and economic imbalance.